TUI UK and Ireland announced that it is set to streamline its retail estate and will close 166 TUI high street stores replacing them with a new homeworking sales and service team.
Customers value the personal service and support TUI travel advisors offer; the business is looking to move 70% of the 900 impacted roles into the new homeworking sales and service team. TUI also aims to relocate retail advisers to vacancies across the remaining high street stores to preserve expertise and continue to offer a great service to its customers.
The proposed impacted stores have been selected considering a number of factors, including local market data, consumer trends and predictions on the future of travel. This will leave 350 stores in the retail network.
Andrew Flintham, Managing Director TUI UK and Ireland said:
“We want to be in the best position to provide excellent customer service, whether it’s in a high street store, over the telephone or online, and will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do. It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions, look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty and also offer a modern customer service.
“Customer behaviours have already changed in recent years, with 70% of all TUI UK bookings taking place online. We believe COVID-19 has only accelerated this change in purchasing habits, with people looking to buy online or wishing to speak with travel experts from the comfort of their own home. We have world class travel advisors at TUI, so we hope many of them will become homeworkers and continue to offer the personalised service we know our customers value.”
The impact of COVID-19 globally has been unprecedented and is the greatest crisis the travel industry has ever faced. In May, the TUI Group announced that it was to reduce overhead costs globally by 30%, with approximately 8,000 roles impacted, and would seek to accelerate its path to become more efficient and continue with its programme of digitalisation.