Tui smile chair is ‘future of travel’

Tui smile chair is ‘future of travel’

Ben Ireland and Juliet Dennis

Tui believes new futuristic facial recognition technology will attract more customers into its rebranded stores.

The Destination U chair was billed as the “future of travel” and a “world first” for the industry when it was unveiled at Tui’s official rebrand last week.

The chair works by showing a customer a sequence of holiday images. Cameras read a customer’s facial expressions and measure their emotions before recommending an ideal holiday.

A prototype is being rolled out at a handful of Tui agencies nationwide and more are planned.

UK managing director Nick Longman admitted the chair was “not going to be in every shop” but said: “It is our ambition to create holidays so personalised they ‘choose you’.”

Longman said the technology would encourage more customers into Tui’s stores. He added: “After a customer has received their results, the agent can sit down with them and see if that’s something they want and help them find a holiday based on the inspiration they’ve been given. It’s not replacing agents. I can see a lot of people having a lot of fun with it.”

The move comes as independent agents say the disappearance of Thomson, one of the UK’s best‑known leisure travel brands, from the high street would make little difference to their businesses.

Advantage Travel Partnership head of commercial John Sullivan said: “People who booked Thomson will continue to book Tui. It’s still the same shop in the same place with the same people.”

But Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel, said Tui’s advertising campaign failed to make the most of what the Tui rebrand represents in terms of product, customer service and reliability. “It’s a lost opportunity to sell more product,” he said.

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