Thomson banks on ‘new format’ stores and new tech

Holiday company Thomson is to pursue an aggressive modernisation and investment programme in the next 12 months in a bid to offer “better value’ to its customers rather than pursuing the “cheap deal” route.

Thomson store design
Thomson has its fourth “next generation” store lined up for Newcastle.

It has a raft of new initiatives lined up, including the fourth of its “next generation” stores, tablets for all reps in-resort to help better solve customers’ problems, new premium Sensatori hotels and a cruise programme that will see a ship based in Dubrovnik in Croatia.

The new retail outlet will be in the Metro Centre in Newcastle and be bigger than its flagship outlet in Bluewater, Kent. It opens in early summer and Thomson indicates it will open other such stores when the opportunity arises. Features include immersive video walls, interactive maps and social media feeds.

David Burling, managing director of UK & Ireland, says he is “very encouraged with the success of the ones opened so far” and they “can take business off competitors”

He adds that there are “certain elements” of the next generation stores that can be adapted for existing stores.

Burling says that Thomson will continue to invest in its online business including “rich content” for its website and better functionality for those visiting via tablet and smartphone devices.

He adds: “The biggest trend online is towards developing sites that can work for both desktop and smartphone. Now 49 per cent of our total web traffic is coming via tablet and smartphone and 25 per cent of our bookings.”

“Customers want to research and book holidays on the device of their choice. Social is also important and we will continue to invest in our online community.”

To improve the customer service in-resort Thomson will now equip its 1,300 reps with iPads after a trial and Burling says: ”We are the first holiday company in Europe to be rolling this [initiative] out on this scale.”

Thomson, owned by TUI, has just opened a Sensatori resort in Jamaica and has more planned.

Read more about the Thomson stores and retail design across other sectors in this feature.

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