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Viewpoint

Welcome to Viewpoint where you will find videos and articles from senior leaders at TUI Travel PLC offering commentary and insight on our business and industry. 
You can sign up for Viewpoint email alerts or amend your existing email alert preferences here. Subscribe to iTunes podcasts of our Viewpoint videos here.
 

Latest Post

Peter Long discusses Interim Results

13 May 2014

Previous Posts

Peter Long discusses Full Year Preliminary Results 2013

10 Dec 2013

Mittu Sridhara: Three simple steps for getting into mobile

23 Oct 2013

Speaking at the recent ABTA Travel Convention in Croatia, Mittu Sridhara, TUI Travel’s Chief Information Officer, set out three simple steps to help travel businesses use mobile as a way of engaging their customers:

1. Be present: “This says it all. The mobile channel has been proven to work, again and again and again. If businesses want to compete, then they have to have a mobile offering. This is a digital age and everyone has a smart device. As a business, why wouldn’t you want to have a presence in the consumer’s pocket? I would argue that any consumer facing business needs to be present and in travel that’s everyone. This is about getting the basics right ‐ the interface and the content. The right interface for the customer allows them to absorb the content you’re providing easily and immediately. For example, basic research shows you that a lot of the time users of smartphones use it in one hand and therefore simply use their thumb, so create your interface around that proof point. It’s then about creating your content ‐ beautiful, digitally enabled, multi‐channel content with enhanced search capabilities.”

Mittu Sridhara2. Be relevant: “Once you’ve got your interfaces and you have your beautiful, rich content you need to make that content relevant. People will only engage with you as a business if what you give them is relevant to their situation, which changes throughout their engagement or journey with you. If you can provide something that has a unique aspect to it, even better. The great thing about this is that the more information you get about your customers using the mobile channel the more you’ll be able to personalise the information for them, making it even more relevant. It’s a virtuous circle.”

3. Be one step ahead: “I know this seems much easier said than done, but to be the best ‐ innovate, understand your customers’ needs and innovate around them. Use the context that you’ve been using to help personalise your content and draw insight from it, i.e. on the customer’s holiday, if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow, push a notice to the customer telling them and suggest booking an excursion for the day. You should also ask for customer feedback, ask them what they want. We must remember that we’re talking directly to the customer one on one, not even the best focus group could have this kind of power. Give them the ability to suggest improvements, or what they would find useful and innovate around it."

"Whatever business you’re in, if you care about your customers, if you want to engage and build a relationship with them, then mobile is no longer optional for you. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the mobile channel and if you don’t do it, you can be sure the competition is. Most importantly, get started."

Speaking at the recent ABTA Travel Convention in Croatia, Mittu Sridhara, TUI Travel’s Chief Information Officer, set out three simple steps to help travel businesses use mobile as a way of engaging their customers:

1. Be present: “This says it all. The mobile channel has been proven to work, again and again and again. If businesses want to compete, then they have to have a mobile offering. This is a digital age and everyone has a smart device. As a business, why wouldn’t you want to have a presence in the consumer’s pocket? I would argue that any consumer facing business needs to be present and in travel that’s everyone. This is about getting the basics right ‐ the interface and the content. The right interface for the customer allows them to absorb the content you’re providing easily and immediately. For example, basic research shows you that a lot of the time users of smartphones use it in one hand and therefore simply use their thumb, so create your interface around that proof point. It’s then about creating your content ‐ beautiful, digitally enabled, multi‐channel content with enhanced search capabilities.”

Mittu Sridhara2. Be relevant: “Once you’ve got your interfaces and you have your beautiful, rich content you need to make that content relevant. People will only engage with you as a business if what you give them is relevant to their situation, which changes throughout their engagement or journey with you. If you can provide something that has a unique aspect to it, even better. The great thing about this is that the more information you get about your customers using the mobile channel the more you’ll be able to personalise the information for them, making it even more relevant. It’s a virtuous circle.”

3. Be one step ahead: “I know this seems much easier said than done, but to be the best ‐ innovate, understand your customers’ needs and innovate around them. Use the context that you’ve been using to help personalise your content and draw insight from it, i.e. on the customer’s holiday, if you know it’s going to rain tomorrow, push a notice to the customer telling them and suggest booking an excursion for the day. You should also ask for customer feedback, ask them what they want. We must remember that we’re talking directly to the customer one on one, not even the best focus group could have this kind of power. Give them the ability to suggest improvements, or what they would find useful and innovate around it."

"Whatever business you’re in, if you care about your customers, if you want to engage and build a relationship with them, then mobile is no longer optional for you. Businesses can no longer afford to ignore the mobile channel and if you don’t do it, you can be sure the competition is. Most importantly, get started."

Simplifying the Package Travel Directive

02 Oct 2013

Jane Ashton: Why it makes commercial sense to operate sustainably

17 Sep 2013

This is the second of two articles featured in Travel Weekly  from Jane Ashton, TUI Travel Director of Sustainable Development. Jane discusses how tour operators can help improve local economic impacts of all-inclusive holidays.

The local economic impact of hotels has been thrown into the spotlight by growth in demand for all-inclusive holidays. But the key issue is whether a hotel is being operated responsibly. 

Tour operators can help improve local economic impacts in a number of ways, by inspiring holidaymakers to purchase local excursions, for example. By facilitating opportunities for customers to support local shops, markets and businesses, inside and outside the hotel. By promoting the use of local produce in hotel restaurants, and by encouraging hotels to develop recruitment and development policies that embrace people from local communities. For many years, TUI Travel has encouraged hotels to achieve sustainability certifications, such as Travelife, which is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. To achieve a Travelife award, hotels have to demonstrate they are purchasing locally-made products where practical, ensuring employees have suitable contracts with fair wages and working conditions, and are communicating with holidaymakers about local customs and attractions.

The evidence shows that hotels which manage their operations more sustainably also deliver a better customer experience. Analysis of over a million of our customer questionnaires in 2011 showed that those staying in Travelife-awarded hotels had higher overall satisfaction levels and were more likely to book with TUI Travel again.  We work particularly closely with our unique and differentiated hotels. All our five-star Sensatori resorts, exclusive to TUI UK & Ireland’s Thomson, held Travelife Gold Awards in 2012. As differentiated properties, Sensatori resorts are a priority for TUI Travel and receive additional support from our environmental consultancy project, which sets clear targets for energy and water reduction. 

All Sensatori resorts have local procurement policies, so that food and other products are bought from the local area, where possible. Customers are encouraged to take walking tours using local guides, which help them to feel comfortable leaving the hotel. The hotels also hold ‘market evenings’, where local suppliers are invited to sell traditional products such as olive oil, preserves, linens, woodcrafts and herbal teas.

In 2011-12, we worked with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on an in-depth study of local economic impact at three of our First Choice Holiday Village hotels, in Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. The focus of this research was to assess the destination-level impacts of all-inclusive tourism. Although the hotel specifications were similar in the three resorts, the local economic impact was very different - illustrating how local laws, trade and customs, as well as differing hotel policies, have an influence.
 
The amount of produce hotels sourced in-country differed dramatically across product categories, largely driven by national policies on importing food and the availability and competitiveness of the country’s supply chain. In Greece, much of the produce used in the Holiday Village originated outside of Greece but was from within the EU, as was the case generally across the region.  The proportion of imported produce used in the Holiday Villages in Turkey and Tunisia was much lower, in line with availability and with the national policies of those countries.

Overall, the research found that employment, procurement and customer discretionary spend were the biggest drivers of local economic impact, and that there was room for changes that would improve this impact.
 Since concluding this research, we have initiated projects in Rhodes, Tunisia and Turkey that address some of the recommendations: waste reduction in Rhodes, helping local farmers sell their produce to hotels in Turkey, increasing employment opportunities for women in Tunisia, and measuring and improving the socio-economic impact of an all-inclusive hotel in Turkey.

We recognise that a high concentration of all-inclusive hotels in a resort, combined with their conversion to all-inclusive at a similar time, can impact on the ambience and character of a holiday destination. In the Mediterranean, where the popularity of all-inclusive has increased, non-hotel tourism businesses are improving their products and services. Resort high streets are also modernising - with chic bars, restaurants and authentic craft shops adding breadth of character that appeals to all-inclusive and non-all-inclusive customers alike. In other destinations, such as the Caribbean, all-inclusive holidays have been the catalyst for tourism development itself.

We are committed to doing more, so we will continue monitoring the local economic impact of hotels and share our findings with the industry.

This is the second of two articles. In the first article Jane discusses the local economic impacts of all-inclusive hotels.

Click here to read the full TUI Travel Sustainable Holidays Report.

 

This is the second of two articles featured in Travel Weekly  from Jane Ashton, TUI Travel Director of Sustainable Development. Jane discusses how tour operators can help improve local economic impacts of all-inclusive holidays.

The local economic impact of hotels has been thrown into the spotlight by growth in demand for all-inclusive holidays. But the key issue is whether a hotel is being operated responsibly. 

Tour operators can help improve local economic impacts in a number of ways, by inspiring holidaymakers to purchase local excursions, for example. By facilitating opportunities for customers to support local shops, markets and businesses, inside and outside the hotel. By promoting the use of local produce in hotel restaurants, and by encouraging hotels to develop recruitment and development policies that embrace people from local communities. For many years, TUI Travel has encouraged hotels to achieve sustainability certifications, such as Travelife, which is recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. To achieve a Travelife award, hotels have to demonstrate they are purchasing locally-made products where practical, ensuring employees have suitable contracts with fair wages and working conditions, and are communicating with holidaymakers about local customs and attractions.

The evidence shows that hotels which manage their operations more sustainably also deliver a better customer experience. Analysis of over a million of our customer questionnaires in 2011 showed that those staying in Travelife-awarded hotels had higher overall satisfaction levels and were more likely to book with TUI Travel again.  We work particularly closely with our unique and differentiated hotels. All our five-star Sensatori resorts, exclusive to TUI UK & Ireland’s Thomson, held Travelife Gold Awards in 2012. As differentiated properties, Sensatori resorts are a priority for TUI Travel and receive additional support from our environmental consultancy project, which sets clear targets for energy and water reduction. 

All Sensatori resorts have local procurement policies, so that food and other products are bought from the local area, where possible. Customers are encouraged to take walking tours using local guides, which help them to feel comfortable leaving the hotel. The hotels also hold ‘market evenings’, where local suppliers are invited to sell traditional products such as olive oil, preserves, linens, woodcrafts and herbal teas.

In 2011-12, we worked with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on an in-depth study of local economic impact at three of our First Choice Holiday Village hotels, in Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. The focus of this research was to assess the destination-level impacts of all-inclusive tourism. Although the hotel specifications were similar in the three resorts, the local economic impact was very different - illustrating how local laws, trade and customs, as well as differing hotel policies, have an influence.
 
The amount of produce hotels sourced in-country differed dramatically across product categories, largely driven by national policies on importing food and the availability and competitiveness of the country’s supply chain. In Greece, much of the produce used in the Holiday Village originated outside of Greece but was from within the EU, as was the case generally across the region.  The proportion of imported produce used in the Holiday Villages in Turkey and Tunisia was much lower, in line with availability and with the national policies of those countries.

Overall, the research found that employment, procurement and customer discretionary spend were the biggest drivers of local economic impact, and that there was room for changes that would improve this impact.
 Since concluding this research, we have initiated projects in Rhodes, Tunisia and Turkey that address some of the recommendations: waste reduction in Rhodes, helping local farmers sell their produce to hotels in Turkey, increasing employment opportunities for women in Tunisia, and measuring and improving the socio-economic impact of an all-inclusive hotel in Turkey.

We recognise that a high concentration of all-inclusive hotels in a resort, combined with their conversion to all-inclusive at a similar time, can impact on the ambience and character of a holiday destination. In the Mediterranean, where the popularity of all-inclusive has increased, non-hotel tourism businesses are improving their products and services. Resort high streets are also modernising - with chic bars, restaurants and authentic craft shops adding breadth of character that appeals to all-inclusive and non-all-inclusive customers alike. In other destinations, such as the Caribbean, all-inclusive holidays have been the catalyst for tourism development itself.

We are committed to doing more, so we will continue monitoring the local economic impact of hotels and share our findings with the industry.

This is the second of two articles. In the first article Jane discusses the local economic impacts of all-inclusive hotels.

Click here to read the full TUI Travel Sustainable Holidays Report.

 

Jane Ashton: All-inclusives are a challenge but also an opportunity

16 Sep 2013

This is the first of two articles featured in Travel Weekly  from Jane Ashton, TUI Travel Director of Sustainable Development. Jane discusses the local economic impacts of all-inclusive hotels.

Tourism is one of the world’s biggest industries. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the direct and indirect economic contribution of tourism was $6.6 trillion in 2012, accounting for one in every 11 jobs. 

In some destinations (for example, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde) TUI Travel accounts for more than 20% of tourists. A significant percentage of jobs, tourism-related businesses and tax revenues in destination countries result, directly or indirectly, from the provision of our holiday products and services. Ideally, much of the revenue from tourism would stay in the local area, supporting livelihoods and benefiting local communities. But the issue of economic contribution is more complex than that.
 

Monitoring and improving the local economic contribution of a hotel is more challenging than measuring its environmental impacts, because it is dependent on a wide range of factors: the standard and value of services offered by the hotel; the hotel’s procurement policies, staffing levels and employment policies; the hotel’s management structure; and the amount of discretionary expenditure by customers in local shops, restaurants and bars.

The local economic impact of hotels has been thrown into the spotlight by the growth in demand for all-inclusive holidays – which include most or all food and drink in the holiday price.  In the four years 2007 to 2010, the market share of all-inclusives doubled from 17% to 34% in the UK, driven in part by difficult economic conditions in our source markets. As well as quality holiday experiences, customers are looking for excellent value and financial peace of mind and, for many families, the existence of all-inclusive options may mean the difference between taking a holiday or not.

In response to this demand, TUI Travel made the decision to assign all-inclusive holidays to specific brand identities. First Choice in the UK became solely all-inclusive from April 2012 and its Holiday Village and Splashworld hotels have become well established within the all-inclusive holiday market. From 2014, SuneoClub will be the first all-inclusive concept designed by TUI Travel with customers from a variety of source markets in mind. 
However, we are aware that all-inclusive holidays evoke strong opinions. They are sometimes singled out for criticism on the basis that they are perceived to bring less direct economic benefit to communities, because customers generally have a lower discretionary spend on their holiday. In our view, the key issue is whether a hotel is being operated responsibly, whatever its board basis, with a view to maximising total local economic contribution, of which discretionary customer spend is only one part. We believe it is vital we strive to measure and manage the economic impacts of tourism, as we do for environmental impacts, regardless of the challenges. 
 
Recent research suggests all-inclusive customers do have a lower discretionary expenditure in the local community than non-all-inclusive customers in terms of food and drink. But there is little difference when it comes to other types of spend. The research also suggests that a key driver of all holidaymakers’ spend once on holiday is the motivation for their holiday – whether they were planning to just enjoy the sun and pool in their resort or were also keen to leave the property and explore the destination.
TUI Travel’s own experience is that all-inclusive hotels generally operate at higher occupancies and therefore employ greater numbers of staff, purchase more food, beverage and services, and hence have higher tax revenues than other types of hotel.  Customers staying on an all-inclusive holiday purchase up to 20% more excursions.

We are committed to exploring ways of making holidays – whatever their board basis – more sustainable in terms of local economic impact. This represents a challenge, but also an opportunity. Tourism – including TUI Travel’s business – already makes a real difference to livelihoods of people across the world. Our wish is to further understand this and improve on it where we can. 

This is the first of two articles. In the second article Jane examines how tour operators can help improve local economic impacts of all-inclusive holidays.

 

This is the first of two articles featured in Travel Weekly  from Jane Ashton, TUI Travel Director of Sustainable Development. Jane discusses the local economic impacts of all-inclusive hotels.

Tourism is one of the world’s biggest industries. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the direct and indirect economic contribution of tourism was $6.6 trillion in 2012, accounting for one in every 11 jobs. 
In some destinations (for example, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde) TUI Travel accounts for more than 20% of tourists. A significant percentage of jobs, tourism-related businesses and tax revenues in destination countries result, directly or indirectly, from the provision of our holiday products and services. Ideally, much of the revenue from tourism would stay in the local area, supporting livelihoods and benefiting local communities. But the issue of economic contribution is more complex than that.

Monitoring and improving the local economic contribution of a hotel is more challenging than measuring its environmental impacts, because it is dependent on a wide range of factors: the standard and value of services offered by the hotel; the hotel’s procurement policies, staffing levels and employment policies; the hotel’s management structure; and the amount of discretionary expenditure by customers in local shops, restaurants and bars.
The local economic impact of hotels has been thrown into the spotlight by the growth in demand for all-inclusive holidays – which include most or all food and drink in the holiday price.  In the four years 2007 to 2010, the market share of all-inclusives doubled from 17% to 34% in the UK, driven in part by difficult economic conditions in our source markets. As well as quality holiday experiences, customers are looking for excellent value and financial peace of mind and, for many families, the existence of all-inclusive options may mean the difference between taking a holiday or not.

In response to this demand, TUI Travel made the decision to assign all-inclusive holidays to specific brand identities. First Choice in the UK became solely all-inclusive from April 2012 and its Holiday Village and Splashworld hotels have become well established within the all-inclusive holiday market. From 2014, SuneoClub will be the first all-inclusive concept designed by TUI Travel with customers from a variety of source markets in mind. 

However, we are aware that all-inclusive holidays evoke strong opinions. They are sometimes singled out for criticism on the basis that they are perceived to bring less direct economic benefit to communities, because customers generally have a lower discretionary spend on their holiday. In our view, the key issue is whether a hotel is being operated responsibly, whatever its board basis, with a view to maximising total local economic contribution, of which discretionary customer spend is only one part. We believe it is vital we strive to measure and manage the economic impacts of tourism, as we do for environmental impacts, regardless of the challenges. 
 
Recent research suggests all-inclusive customers do have a lower discretionary expenditure in the local community than non-all-inclusive customers in terms of food and drink. But there is little difference when it comes to other types of spend. The research also suggests that a key driver of all holidaymakers’ spend once on holiday is the motivation for their holiday – whether they were planning to just enjoy the sun and pool in their resort or were also keen to leave the property and explore the destination.

TUI Travel’s own experience is that all-inclusive hotels generally operate at higher occupancies and therefore employ greater numbers of staff, purchase more food, beverage and services, and hence have higher tax revenues than other types of hotel.  Customers staying on an all-inclusive holiday purchase up to 20% more excursions.

We are committed to exploring ways of making holidays – whatever their board basis – more sustainable in terms of local economic impact. This represents a challenge, but also an opportunity. Tourism – including TUI Travel’s business – already makes a real difference to livelihoods of people across the world. Our wish is to further understand this and improve on it where we can. 

This is the first of two articles. In the second article Jane examines how tour operators can help improve local economic impacts of all-inclusive holidays.

Jane Ashton discusses transparency in carbon reporting

02 Sep 2013

Peter Long talks about TUI Travel’s Interim Results

10 May 2013

Peter Long talks about TUI Travel's First Quarter Results

07 Feb 2013

Peter Long: The year ahead

31 Jan 2013