TUI customers will soon be able to book multi-day tours (the ability to book multi-day excursions, including activities and overnight accommodation) via an integrated online platform, providing them with the option to customise their holiday. The new development is in partnership with travel technology provider – Nezasa AG. With the multi-day tours market currently highly fragmented, this development is an opportunity for TUI to increase its competitiveness towards younger demographics that traditionally book independently or through more bespoke holiday providers.

Personalisation will attract millennials

A lack of customisation and in-destination experience has pushed the millennial generation to search for alternative holiday providers, rather than the traditional tour operators. According to the 2021 Q1 GlobalData Consumer Survey report, 27% of 18-34-year-olds said personalisation ‘always influenced’ their product choice, which was the highest proportion of any other age range in the survey, suggesting high demand for a customised holiday experience. As the new platform will offer a wider choice of content, it creates the chance for millennials to customise their holiday, ultimately creating a unique selling point for TUI.

Furthermore, millennial travellers are likely to seek experiences on holiday. However, typically, package holidays only offer a limited number of excursions (sometimes none) during the booking process. As a result, self-packaged trips are popular with millennials, with 30% opting to book this trip type, according to a GlobalData 2019 Q3 tourism consumer survey. Nevertheless, direct bookings present a particular set of challenges. Reduced levels of flexibility, regulation and consumer protection mean that the booking method has its risks. Intermediaries such as TUI can help alleviate some of these potential problems by offering tours and excursions from reputable wholesalers or operators, whilst offering consumer protection in line with package holiday regulations. A pre-planning element is also an attractive possibility, with the customer knowing the exact cost of their holiday before travelling, which is likely to increase demand due to the long-term economic strain of the pandemic.

The fragmented multi-day tour market presents an opportunity

A lack of technological development and b2b (business to business) relations has resulted in a fragmented multi-day tour sub-industry, with no apparent intermediary taking hold of this area of the market. Although intermediaries often take a portion of the profits from tour companies, they can help spur regulation, increase standards and provide customers with adequate financial protection.

Ultimately, TUI provides customers with a trusted brand name and reassurance that excursions and experiences will consist of a certain standard. Technological development demonstrated by TUI in partnership with Nezasa AG could also be a game-changer in the industry, enabling multiple tours to be booked with the potential to integrate dynamic pricing and booking incentives further down the line.

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