Pete Maxted, IT Director, TUI Specialist Holidays Group

TUI Group is a global travel business comprising cruise lines, six airlines, tour operators and travel agencies all over the world. The business involves over 150 well known travel brands, companies that have been acquired by the group over many years. Many of these brands have been successful stand alone businesses with their own business teams and structures and systems which have then been taken under the wing of the main TUI Group brand. Holidays offered by TUI include the full breadth of sun holidays, active holidays such as skiing and sailing, hiking and adventure holidays, luxury travel, inspirational and experience holidays.

TUI Group now has 30 million customers in 31 main markets. Pete Maxted, IT Director at TUI Specialist Holidays Group describes it as ‘a conglomeration of small businesses acquired over time’. Pete says ‘Each business that has joined the TUI Group has been incorporated into the TUI business with its own systems and technical set up and reporting structure. The result is that TUI now has too many data warehouses and is struggling to get a clear customer viewpoint and reporting mechanism’. The Group needs a single customer view in order to maximise the business intelligence it holds regarding customers and their travel needs, and in order to grow revenues and grow the business further. With so many legacy and disparate systems this is a major challenge.

TUI wants to provide a fantastic service to its customer san also grow its business. To do that we need to be able to produce effective business reporting, but also to communicate really well with our customers and provide them with information and offers that are bespoke to them. We struggle to do that right now because we cannot always know when a customer has used a number of our travel companies or agencies and what holidays they have been on across the group in one single view. To get that information takes a lot of digging and time. this means we might miss an opportunity to offer them something we know would really interested them, which is also a lost business opportunity for TUI.

TUI engaged Business Thinking in a two stage project to assist them with this challenge. The first phase of the project was aimed at what exists currently; identifying the problems in the current set up. Also to decide what to do with it, and that involves multi-team management across the business to define what the solution might be and design the migration path to get there.

The second phase of the project is to create a CRM system that gives a single customer view. This needs to be tactical and provide the business with a system it can use to generate further revenue. There is also the question of how to make a system like that stable in the longer term as more companies are acquired and the TUI business grows.

Business Thinking has been working with TUI within their business intelligence and customer service teams, studying usage of the data, requirements from a sales and customer service perspective, and understanding and interpreting the Group’s strategic business aims in order to draw a map of the current situation, how it must change, and design and deliver a solution for the future.

Pete says that choosing to work with Business Thinking was straightforward. Having worked with the Business Thinking team in the past knows their high level of skill and experience in complex projects such as this one. Pete likes working with people that he has built up a relationship with over time and that he knows and trusts. He says ‘if you are looking for expertise in business intelligence and analytics then you either choose a big consultancy with a small department that does business intelligence work, where you are paying for the brand, or you seek out real experts in boutique consultancies such as Business Thinking. It’s difficult to find people with the right expertise so choosing a small niche consultancy can be hit and miss. Business Thinking know their business’.

Pete continues ‘for business intelligence projects you need expertise and knowledge, and experience of implementing a variety of solutions in a variety of contexts. Business Thinking have all of that’.