First Choice and Thomson travel brands dropped as Tui revamps its business

Hannover-based German multinational and tourism company TUI Group says it is dropping the British travel brand names First Choice and Thomson as it revamps its business. The world’s largest leisure, travel and tourism firm says it plans to sell holidays under a single brand.

The decision follows the merger between the British business (TUI Travel) with its German parent (TUI AG), which was completed last year.

The whole process will take about three years, to complete, Tui said.

Dropping brands

Over the next three years, Tui will drop all its regional brands.

The Thomson and First Choice brands have over five million customers, with Greece, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands the most popular destinations.

The Tui Group has 136 aircraft, 1,800 retail outlets (shops) across Europe, over 300 hotels, and thirty million customers.


Peter Long, the group’s joint CEO, said the company would start phasing out other European brands in France and the Netherlands first. Thomson and First Choice will be the last brands to go because they are the biggest.

Tui posted half-year losses

The decision was made public along with the Tui Group’s results, which posted half-year losses of €272.6 million (£195.5 million), compared to €341.4 million last time.

Travel companies tend to make a loss during their lean winter period.

Joint CEO Friz Joussen said on Wednesday “It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of having lots of brands.”

The company said it expects annual profit to grow by over 10% over the next three years. It also plans to sell LateRooms, a British hotel booking website.

LateRooms generated sales of €31 million (£22.2 million), with an underlying earnings loss of €9 million (£6.5 million).

TUI Group financials

Source: Interim Results for the six months ended 31 March 2015. TUI Group.

Tui said winter sales were 1% higher than one year ago, with strong bookings in Germany, the UK and the Benelux nations. Average selling prices were also 1% up compared to the same period. Shares were 2% up.

The company said it was pleased that 59% of summer holidays have been sold, in line with last year. Overall, bookings are 2% higher compared to last year.

According to Mr. Long, long-haul holiday sales have been doing well, with Mexico and Jamaica up 37% and 22% respectively on last year.

Mr. Long said:

“Now the UK general election is over it gives clarity to everyone, including consumers who have increasing amounts of disposable income to spend.”

Video – Future strategy of TUI Group