The joint chief executive of Tui Group has said that companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon could change the shape of the industry by moving into travel, admitting this is a concern for the operator.
Speaking at the Phocuswright conference in Dublin this week, as the company confirmed it would drop sub-brands like Thomson and First Choice in favour of a Tui master brand, Long said other existing companies didn’t concern him.
“Travel companies don’t keep me awake at night – Facebook, Google and Amazon are the ones that could change the shape of our industry and marginalise competitors”, he told delegates.
“They’re my biggest worry because they’re huge and powerful.”
Long said that Tui had needed to adapt to the “change and disruption that is ever-present” in the travel industry, adding that companies that didn’t do the same would become irrelevant.
“The new big change and dimension for Tui Group as opposed to Tui Travel, is our ownership and control of content, which will drive the security and sustainability of our model”, said Long.
“We built Hotelbeds from scratch 12 years ago and it’s now the world’s largest wholesaler of hotel rooms”.
“We are now embarking on a journey to create the Tui brand. We believe that in the next decade the winners will be global power brands that are recognisable across the world.”
Long called Tui the “world’s largest integrated tourism business with access to over 20 million customers.”
He acknowledged that the company has been behind in understanding the digital customer, but that it is currently implementing a customer management system with SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM).
The Tui joint boss said that the company’s vision is to add personalised holiday details to its app to include all information in one place, such as the destination’s weather, boarding passes and a holiday countdown function.