TUI Group’s six-month earnings to the end of March show an increase in not only the proportion of bookings taken online but also its number of customers.
During the six months to end-March the business’ “source markets” accounted for 6.3 million passengers, a 3% increase on the same period last time. Across its three reported regions, online distribution accounted for 47% of the total, up from 43% last time.
Germany (which now includes Austria) continues to lag behind other markets but continues to see modest growth in online bookings – 17% this half compared with 14% last time. Passenger volumes were down slightly at just under 2 million.
The UK meanwhile lifted not only the proportion of online bookings but also passenger numbers. Online grew to 59% from 57% while volumes increased from around 1.7 million passengers to 1.8 million.
The Nordics is its strongest online market and shows no sign of reaching a plateau, with this half’s 75% up from 71% last time. In volumes however the Nordics contribute only 579,000 passenger, a number which dropped compared with last time.
Benelux, which provided 1.6 million passengers, is also getting more online bookings – 61% compared with 56%.
TUI Group’s take on its “digital transformation” is two-pronged – it is building a common platform for all its business units but at the same time is undergoing a consumer-facing rebrand to TUI in all markets. So far this has been completed in three markets (Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden) and has raised unaided brand awareness as a result.
The culmination of this rebrand will be the UK, where Thomson will be phased out. This is slated to be completed during it 2018 full-year.
The digital transformation is taking place alongside a business transformation, which is putting increased emphasis on its own hotels and cruises. Its main hotel brands – Riu and Robinson – saw occupancy rates of 88% and 62% respectively.
The business usually records a loss in the first half of the year, and this time is no exception. The financials are extensively restated for a number of reasons, but in terms of underlying EBITA it was €230 million in the red.
Its shares on the London Stock Exchange fell when the results came out, and were more than 4% down on Friday’s close at the time of writing. Click here for the latest price.