Tui tipped to outline 'masterbrand' strategy

Tui tipped to outline 'masterbrand' strategy

The Times today follows up Travel Weekly’s exclusive disclosure made last month that Tui Group is considering a rebrand under the Tui name.

A new branding strategy for its tour operations - including Thomson and First Choice in the UK - as part of a capital markets day presentation accompanying half-year results is to be outlined by Europe’s largest travel group on Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

Most of the company’s brands, including Thomson, already use the same logo, introduced in 2001 under the World of Tui umbrella as part of an attempt to harmonise the service and type of experience customers of the different brands could expect.

However, the group is expected to take the process a step further by indicating its intention, probably over the next two or three years, to deploy the Tui brand it already trades under in Germany across most of its other European source markets, including the UK.

A source close to the company emphasised last night that the review was a continuing process and that any changes would be introduced only very gradually “over time, not immediately,” according to the Times.

The move to a single Tui brand will also extend to the group’s five airlines, which have about 140 aircraft.

After last year’s merger between Tui Travel and Germany majority shareholder, Tui AG, the company has kicked off plans to bring all five carriers - Thomson Airways, Tuifly, Tuifly Nordic, Jetairfly and Arkefly - under a single operation based in the UK as part of a move to cut costs by at least €100 million.

Tui is also expected to outline plans to bring its Thomson Cruise and Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten operations into its joint venture with Royal Caribbean to improve cross-selling and operational synergies, according to a research note from Morgan Stanley.

The capital markets day, where joint chief executives, Fritz Joussen and Peter Long, will outline the merged group’s future growth strategy, is also expected to allude to possible disposals, which analysts predict could raise up to €1 billion, including its 14% stake in the Hapag Lloyd container shipping group, on its own valued at €470 million.

Other assets that could be sold include OTA LateRooms, worth between €50 million and €100 million, while the group is also expected to review the €1.7 billion of capital it has tied up in hotels.

Tui is forecast by Morgan Stanley to report underlying seasonal winter losses of €306 million in the first half, a 12% improvement. A trading update in March indicated solid trading amid slightly better summer booking trends.

Tui declined to comment on the Times report.


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