Thomson has opened its Holiday Design Store in the Metrocentre in Gateshead.
The company’s latest concept store was originally announced by the company last April and was due to open last summer. However it was held up due to delays related to the leasehold agreement for the premises and finally opened today, Feburary 26.
It is Thomson’s 27th ‘next generation’ shop but only the second to incorporate all the new concept features, including an immersive video wall at the front of the shop. It will be the largest shop based on targeted customer volumes, rather than floorspace.
In total there are six Holiday Design Stores to include all the new concept features. They are in Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent (pictured), Liverpool, Bristol, Sheffield Meadowhall and Glasgow city centre. The other 21 stores feature some elements of the new design. All 27 have opened, or relaunched under the new concept, in the last 18 months.
The shop replaces two Thomson stores in the shopping centre and is 2,000 square feet. It is being officially opened by the Newcastle Falcons Rugby team, with customers getting the chance to win a family ticket to see them play.
Over the next few days a variety of opening events are being held at the store: Thomson cabin crew will be serving afternoon tea for customers on Friday; Las Vegas showgirls will make an appearance courtesy of Hayes and Jarvis on Saturday; and there will be a guest appearance by the Metro Centre’s own ‘Metro Gnomes’ on Sunday.
Among the shop’s features are an 84 inch touch screen interactive map designed to inspire customers to book. Customers will be able to view ‘top ten’ lists and live weather information, reviews and videos of destinations and hotels.
Social media feeds will be streamed on to screens in the store, with holidaymakers encouraged to tweet their name and holiday destinations. The store is divided into zones with an ‘advice bar’, self-service computer, and holiday booths to sit down with an agent.
Jill Carter, director of retail at Tui UK & Ireland, said: “We are thrilled to open our Holiday Design Store in the Metro Centre. All existing Holiday Design Stores have proven to be a huge success.
“Our new technology will enable staff to tailor the holiday completely around the customer, significantly improving the overall booking experience.”
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