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18 May 2016

BY TTG Staff

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Travelopia courts indies ahead of sale

Tui Group’s rebranded specialist division is planning to “accelerate” sales through independent agents as it prepares to be put up for sale. Rob Gill reports.

Travelopia brands
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Tui Group’s rebranded specialist division is planning to “accelerate” sales

Travelopia is the new name for the umbrella group of 50 specialist brands, including Hayes & Jarvis, Exodus, Travelmood, Citalia and Jetsave. But Travelopia will not be a “consumer-facing” brand.

Tui is planning to put Travelopia, which employs around 4,000 people, on the market in the autumn with the intention of selling the business as a single entity.

The only brands being retained by Tui are Crystal Ski and Thomson Lakes & Mountains, which will be transferred to Tui’s UK division by September.

The renamed division will continue to be run by chief executive Will Waggott, with Martin Froggatt and Mathew Prior as managing directors.

Prior told TTG: “We have already started to grow our sales through independent agencies and under new ownership we will be able to accelerate that growth.

“We have a strong relationship with Thomson retail and that will continue. But we will be investing heavily in third-party high street agencies.”

Prior added that Travelopia’s sales team was currently visiting around 50 independent agencies a week and would step up its activities when the agency sales team increases from 8 to 10 staff.

“Our general message is that we really want to invest in it,” he said. “There are some superb retailers out there with high levels of expertise and very strong relationships with their customers.

“We have a portfolio of strong products that independent agents want to offer to their clients. So far the reaction from agents has been absolutely brilliant.”

Froggatt added Travelopia’s brands were attractive for agents because of their higher average prices compared with mainstream holidays.

“The lowest you’re going to get is around £1,500pp and that can go up to £90,000pp,” he said.

“We are seeing strong demand for adventure and luxury – anything with an experience is growing faster than the more sedate options.”

Prior said it was “too early” to talk about any prospective buyers for Travelopia.

“Between now and then, we will be doing lots of preparation including the separation of Crystal and Thomson Lakes and Mountains,” he added.

“We have been run separately from Tui for a while, although there are shared functions such as HR, finance and IT.”

Travelopia has started a consultation period for affected staff. Tui said it was hoping that all employees could be redeployed to other roles.

 

Timeline

2007

Tui AG’s tourism division and First Choice merge to create Tui Travel, Europe’s largest tour operator, including a Specialist
and Activity division.

2010
Tui Travel creates the Specialist Holidays Group consisting of 19 businesses including Crystal Ski, Austravel, Citalia and Hayes & Jarvis.

2011

Tui Travel launches strategic venture with Intrepid Travel – Peak Adventure Travel Group – featuring its adventure travel brands such as Exodus and Headwater.

2014

Tui AG and Tui Travel merge to create a single Tui Group including the Specialist Group with five divisions: Adventure, Education, North American Specialists, Events and Specialist Holiday Group.

2015

Tui and Intrepid Travel ended Peak joint venture.

2016

Tui announces it will put Specialist Group up for sale in the autumn. Group is also rebranded as Travelopia.

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