Bye Bye Thomson’s – the loved brand name is to be phased out in favour of TUI
The familiar British tour operator brands of Thomson and First Choice are to be phased out, reports the Daily Mail and The Guardian.
Thomson’s has been a well loved high street and online travel agency for more than 50 years. It catered for over 5.2 million holidaymakers in 2014 alone. The company’s German-based parent company TUI, the largest travel firm in the world, said that the name will gradually disappear from high streets over the next two years. They also stated that their other well known agent First Choice will also be re-branded under the TUI Group umbrella.
With more than half of British holidaymakers last year preferring to book their holidays themselves rather than step foot in a travel agency, the German owner wants uniformity for its company divisions believing that “a single, recognisable global brand will help us compete with rivals”. Although Thomson ranks higher in the popularity stakes than main competitor Thomas Cook according to Marketing Week, even when we look at the tourists and Turkey property owners we speak to, the majority we meet have organised their flights and travel arrangements independently online, not having considered speaking to a travel agent directly or arranging a package deal from a holiday shop. I guess that times really have changed so perhaps TUI are right to restructure now even though it is a financial risk given the brands age and popularity. It does appear that the name will go completely, but the familiar, smiley faced logo is lightly to stay.
A little Thomson history,
Thomson’s, named after the wealthy Canadian businessman Roy Thomson, was established back in 1962. They took their very first 82 passengers on their first package holiday to Palma in Spain. Capitalising on the rising number of Brits looking to spend their vacations overseas rather than the UK, they grew rapidly owning their own charter airline Britannia, and buying up smaller travel agents along the way.
Thomson Holidays became the travel market leader back in the 1980’s. Then in the late 90’s the company was floated and soon after brought out by the current German owners Tui (originally called Preussag) in 2000.
The TUI Group Joint CEO, Fritz Joussen, on asked what prompted the decision to rebrand said that “It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of having lots of brands”. He assured press that he is handling the transition carefully as he is aware that both First Choice and Thomson’s are well known and familiar global brands.
So bye to another old familiar British brand name, let’s see what impact and changes the decision will have on local tourism and the many Thomson and First Choice staff members working here in the Fethiye region of Turkey.