Web packages outselling High Street for TUI Travel

TUI Travel UK sold more mainstream package holidays through its websites than its shops, according to its full-year results released yesterday.

In the year to end-Sept08, TUI UK’s mainstream business recorded controlled distribution of its tour operator products of 75% – 33% of which came online; 32% through retail with 10% call centres.

“The [UK mainstream] business has continued to grow its level of controlled distribution, with a one percentage point increase to 75% in 2008 which was primarily driven by an increase in our web sales following the re-launch of the First Choice website,” it said.

Last year, the web accounted for 29% of UK mainstream, with the shops taking 34%.

However, the balance of power will shift back to the high street over time: TUI’s target is for 85% of its UK mainstream product to be sold in-house – the target for web sales is 35% while the target for retail is 43%.

TUI’s consumer-facing bedbanks had another year of growth. Storng European cities product helped Hotelopia lift volumes by 16%, although “commission rates decreased in the more competitive mature markets of Spain and the UK as a result of greater competition from online participants”. LateRooms.com lifted volumes by 21%.

Including its asiarooms.com, which TUI described as “the highest traffic B2C accommodation business in Asia”, B2C bedbanks sold just under seven million bed nights, a 72% hike on last year. However, revenue per bed night was down 5%.

TUI also revealed that it strengthened the B2C line-up towards the end of the financial year, buying hotels-london.co.uk for an undisclosed sum.

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