TUI has re-launched its retail website in Germany to boost online bookings but has decided against selling competitor products on it.
The upgraded ‘tui.com’ website features extensive holiday offers from TUI’s German tour operators while up to 100 independent specialists will be added shortly. But original plans to make the website into a full-scale online travel agency that also sells products of rivals such as Thomas Cook or Rewe have been vetoed by parent company TUI Travel.
TUI Germany said the new booking platform “will revolutionise holiday booking and connects travel agents with the internet”. The German market leader aims to establish the portal as one of the country’s top travel retail websites. About 19% of German holidays are now bought online rather than through travel agencies.
The website’s main innovation is the incorporation of online advice from about 1,000 travel agents, TUI product managers in Germany and destination-based tour managers. The travel agents can be contacted directly through the website, by e-mail or by phone, and customers can book online or offline. According to TUI, about 30% of online users prefer to book their holidays traditionally through a travel agency.
The online advice gives the portal a strong USP compared to rival booking platforms. TUI.com CEO Aleksander Vucak said online customers would now benefit from advice “like in a travel agency”.