In the last financial year, you defined six areas that you wanted to manage centrally from Group headquarters. What was behind that decision?
We want to tap into the global economies of scale that are available to us because of our size and international make-up, and which give us a competitive edge. With that in mind, we looked at the various activities we cover as a Group and identified six areas where we can draw on our strengths as a global player. Those are brand, IT, flights, investment in hotels and product sourcing, cruises, and destination services. But at the point where the competition is won or lost, being close to customers with their individual wishes, local management in the markets operate with complete autonomy. I call that interplay “freedom within a framework”.
Implementing the single TUI brand on a global scale must be especially challenging. How much headway have you made?
The TUI brand is extremely strong in the international arena. We have made some great progress, especially thanks to the huge effort and commitment of the local markets, which have been exemplary in supporting migration to the TUI brand – above all with lots of ideas and activities for local employees. Apart from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Poland, where we have always marketed our business under the name TUI, we now also operate under the global umbrella brand in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Scandinavia. The last countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, will be making the change in 2017. So from next year our customers all over Europe will have a consistent brand experience right along the value chain, from seeking advice in the travel agency, to enjoying the flight, to the services they receive on holiday. In the destinations, we have created a single international team, bringing together all the tour guides who used to work separately for each source market. The TUI brand is already extremely visible in the resorts. Our customers trust TUI, and our employees are proud to be part of this international TUI family.