Why is Thomson Changing its Name to Tui, and What Does This Mean for Cruise-Lovers?
Meet Tui, the New Face of Thomson
After over 50 years as one of Britain’s best loved travel resources, Thomson is facing the axe as German parent company Tui seeks to consolidate its brands.
Many of you will have never heard of Tui. It’s not surprising really – Thomson and First Choice have been the face of the Tui brand in the UK for the last 17 years, but now that’s all about to change because Tui is seeking to consolidate its international brands.
Since 1962, Thomson has been a well-loved travel company for British holidaymakers, offering everything from package holidays to budget travel insurance. It’s a known and trusted brand, so why change image now? What possible reason is there to dissolve this brand into one unrecognised by the British public?
Thomson and First Choice have over five million customers between them (almost ten per cent of the British population), and these customers continue to enjoy popular destinations such as the Canary Islands and Greece. But will this all change as Tui takes over?
Successfully co-ordinating a rebrand is tricky business. In essence it is a simple matter of following basic marketing principles, but on the other hand it falls to the general public whether or not your new brand is going to be accepted by the masses. This makes the whole idea of rebranding a lot more serious.
Rebranding is often done with good reasoning and it is either proactive or reactive. Reactive rebranding is often done as a method of crisis management, re-energising a brand that is losing customers or that has received bad press, whereas proactive rebranding is often carried out in an attempt to predict future trends.
Tui, the German parent of both UK businesses Thomson and First Choice, is moving with the times. The travel industry is an international market and it is better to be an internationally recognised brand than simply a domestically recognised brand. This merger could mean lower costs with marketing and greater brand recognition in the future. Tui already has over 30 million customers of its own; rebranding could result in a loss of some UK customers but a stronger global brand make sense.
But what will this mean for loyal customers of Thomas and First Choice? Well, inevitably, some customers will feel that loyalty challenged and will likely move away to another British company in response, but for most customers it will likely be business as usual.
There is a chance that the Tui rebrand, planned for completion within three years, could fail, but it seems unlikely. Some people might even barely notice the change. The Thomson logo we all know and love is, in fact, the Tui logo (made up of a T, a U and an I to form a smile), so that probably won’t change.
As for continuing service, joint chief executive Peter Long has said that other regional brands will be phased out first, but has expressed that his priority will be ensuring the ongoing quality and ethos of the Tui brand as the merger goes forward.
For cruise lovers, there is likely to be no change. The Thomson fleet, which includes Thomson Dream, Thomson Majesty, and the longest serving ship, Thomson Spirit, will probably keep their names, so passengers will still be able to book their favourite ships for their holidays.
Thompson Discovery, the newest and biggest ship in the fleet that is due to be launched in 2016, will also keep its name. Discovery is currently sailing as Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas.
Tui is expected to bring newer and larger ships to the fleet, such as the Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2, which were both originally with Celebrity Cruises. We do not know if these ships with be rebranded or continue to sail under the German name, which simply means “My Ship”.
Thomson mainly operates in the Caribbean and Canaries, but the expanded fleet may see new destinations become available to UK customers, including cruises in the Far East. The new Tui owned cruise liners will provide some direct competition with established UK cruise liners such as P&O and Fred Olsen, and this could result in more competitive prices. This is all great news for all UK cruise lovers!
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