Tui Group’s chief executive has predicted an acceleration in retail customer behaviour towards online post-pandemic.
Predicting a full recovery of tourism in 2022 at the latest, Fritz Joussen noted some caveats.
“I think the biggest effects we will see in changing of customer behaviours is retail purchases and business travel,” he said, adding: “But not vacations.”
“I have been working from a home office for four weeks and I save a lot of time.
“I could imagine that this is the substituting effect long-term.
“Retail purchase is the same thing. If you have done a retail purchase online will you really go back into the city centre?”
Joussen’s remarks came amid the announcement of a 30% cutting of costs, affecting up to 8,000 roles group-wide.
However he reassured TTG that this would not necessarily affect its retail estate.
“Of course retail needs to be profitable. But [the size of the retail estate] has always been an outlet by outlet judgement.
“If more people move online we will respond accordingly, it remains to be seen. It’s the customer driving it.”
He expanded later: “As a consumer company we need to be where the customers are. In some countries it’s more digital and less so in others.
“In the crisis when people are sitting at home doing more digital purchases, maybe we’ll see a move to [digital] more and more.
“Will we have a full digital retail offering? Potentially not – in most of our markets for the purchase of big tickets people prefer a multi-channel offering.
“Realistically we will see multichannel, but increasingly the purchase will be online.”
Joussen further explained that when Tui talked about digitising its customer service, it was referring in the main to the customer journey after purchase – documentation, comms, booking in-destination, selling excursions, special offers, marketing etc.
“We are making our app more friendly, rich appropriate. That’s where I see the biggest revolution.”