The name change from Star Tour to TUI Norway had been the key priority for the company in the lead up to the official launch, which became effective on 1 November.
“We still have a number of promotional activities planned, and I have been visiting our partners throughout the country to raise awareness about the change,” says Country Manager André Braathen. “The name change reflects TUI’s dominant position in the market and its confidence in its own brand that it can now supersede country-specific brands.”
As the world’s largest leisure and tourism company, TUI occupies a preeminent position in the Scandinavian region. TUI Norway is a classic tour operator which organizes its own package tours as well as those of its parent organization.
“In this way we can offer our customers a much greater variety of destinations and hotels,” says Mr. Braathen. “However, the most popular destination for sunseeking Norwegians is Majorca.”
TUI Norway operates mainly in the tourist sector; however, it also targets the business sector. “We offer fully inclusive packages to dream destinations all over the world,” says Mr. Braathen. “That includes popular exotic destinations such as Thailand and the Canary Islands but also hiking tours of Nepal and South Africa.”
TUI Norway also has products tailored specifically to families under the brand name Family Life. They are designed to take all the stress out of the holiday experience and include flights, accommodation and outstanding local service.
“That is what our customers value and why they keep coming back,” says Mr. Braathen. “Our local representatives offer a point of contact for travellers for all their needs.” A specially designed app also provides reassurance before, during and after the holiday.
This is where the Scandinavian subsidiary is leading the way for the entire TUI Group. “We have focused very strongly on embracing the digital revolution and the opportunities it gives us to connect with our customers,” says Mr. Braathen. “We have become a pioneer within the group and have developed our own digital app, which is now being adopted throughout the group.”
Around 80% of TUI Norway’s total bookings are made online while traffic on its website totals 1.3 million visits per month. More than half of this traffic is on mobile devices. “Our goal is to generate half of turnover via our mobile application by 2020,” says Mr. Braathen. “Last year alone we increased mobile revenue by 300%.”
Norwegians are quite advanced when it comes to digital technology, and there is a high degree of acceptance of this way of booking. Other trends in the travel industry also feed into the greater digitalization of the business.
“The trend is definitely for people to take more frequent but shorter holidays,” describes Mr. Braathen. “Shorter summer holidays are accompanied by short breaks at other times in the year. There is also a trend to combine two kinds of holiday in one, for example a week-long cruise followed by a week in a resort.”
TUI Norway finds itself catering to an increasingly divided market and addressing strictly defined target groups. “Families with children, singles, senior citizens – they all have different interests and requirements,” says Mr. Braathen. “We have to ensure that we put together packages that will meet those needs.”
In order to do this, TUI Norway looks to get to know its customers as well as it can. Here again, modern technology has much to offer. “We analyze big data and draw conclusions from the results on how to improve our packages,” says Mr. Braathen. “In this way we are always able to offer our customers the best possible experience.”
Sometime in the middle of next year, TUI Norway expects to receive its ten millionth booking. “Norwegians have booked their holidays with us since 1973,” says Mr. Braathen. “As of 1 November, they are doing it under our new name.”