Tui pledges more staff at airports and in resort this summer

Tui has pledged to have more staff in airports this summer and increase reps in destination in response to a change in consumers’ needs post-Covid.

UK managing director Andrew Flintham said the move to “vastly increase” staff numbers at all airports Tui uses in the UK and abroad was “definitely in place for this summer”.

Last summer the company ramped up its airport staff numbers when the sector was beset by airline delays and cancellations causing disruption at airports.

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He said: “We will have way more people at airports this summer. We are going to have a much bigger airport presence both airside and landside.”

But he admitted this could be revised in future, adding: “Do we believe that’s here forever? We don’t know. We all used to happily just sidle up to a self service bag drop… wander through the airport and think that was great because we didn’t want lots of people bothering us. I don’t think anybody knows how that’s going to evolve.”

Flintham said the number of its holiday reps were also now back to pre-pandemic levels as the company responded to demand for the in-person service in resort.

The company reduced the number of resort reps during the pandemic for cost reasons but was now reacting to demand post-Covid, he added, as part of a more tailored approach to clients’ needs.

Pre-Covid the company introduced a mobile app to provide some of its in-resort information services.

Flintham said: “We had introduced the [mobile] app which gave a whole host of kind of customer self service capabilities. But 80% of our customers were still going through a repped hotel.

“And actually [now] we are at that level or higher. So previously, pre-pandemic, we were face to face plus technology. In the pandemic, for various reasons but clearly one of them being cost, we went back with a real bent of having less people, more technology.

“And now we’re back to almost more people proportionately and the technology because the technology is getting better and better.”

Flintham said the company’s approach was now more bespoke, and ensured customers wanting a rep in resort had one based on the demographics and ‘pen portraits’ of its holidaymakers.

He said: “It used to be quite a blanket approach – if you put so many customers in a hotel, it would have a rep. Now it’s much more tailored and sophisticated to the type of customers we’re putting into those hotels. So we’re targeting the customers that need the help or want the help.

“We know who they are. We know what type of customer is going into which unit and therefore we can predict how we need to support those customers overseas.”

Flintham admitted the move to add reps in resorts added cost to the business, but said: “It’s adding costs but it’s added huge customer satisfaction. The higher the customer satisfaction, the higher the repeat customer rate, the higher the retention rate. It’s the virtuous circle, then that investment is more than worth it.”

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