Marketing Insight from the 2019 Travel Brand of the Year: TUI

Author: Abra Dunsby Acting Features Editor, TTG Media

Abra speaks to Katie McAlister, Chief Marketing Officer at TUI UK who won Brand of the Year award at the 2019 Travel Marketing Awards. 

What inspired TUI’s rebrand?
It was about transforming us from the UK’s number one to a global travel brand able to offer more choice – of destination, hotel, cruise ship, flights and holiday duration. It brought together the best of Tui’s expertise from across the globe with all the quality, trust and value you’d expect from a loved holiday company with 60 years of heritage in the UK travel industry.

How was the idea rolled out?
It was gradual, as we needed to take people on the journey with us. We adopted the famous TUI smile well in advance so people would become accustomed to it when we transitioned; we created a communications plan building up to the rebrand and official name change so everyone knew it was coming; and we instigated a high impact rebrand plan that reached 96% of the UK adult population.

What were the challenges?
Protecting the huge SEO equity from the Thomson brand and re-branding 600 retail stores.

How did you overcome it?
With a clear and focused SEO strategy that protected fall-off and re-branding 30 stores per night over a four-week period.

How successful was the rebrand?
It did exactly what it was intended to. Unaided awareness of the TUI name in September 2017 was 4% and our aim was to get to around 40% by April 2018. We’ve hit that target – consideration of TUI is now greater than for Thomson before the rebrand, and customer retention has been strong.

How important is it to innovate as a brand?
It’s critical. Digitalisation has transformed the way people shop and the way brands talk to their customers. Brands need to continue to innovate and evolve to stay relevant.

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