The future of travel agencies

Travel agencies remain the place of choice visited by many people who do not wish to do without personal advice. TUI operates 1,600 modern stores across Europe. Apart from competent support for customers in their search for perfect holiday experiences, there are or will soon be many elements making the visit to the travel agency itself an experience. An overview of the most fascinating developments is presented below:

Destination U

The ‘Destination U’ prototype in the UK decodes customers’ facial expressions to determine their perfect holiday. The technology presents a rapid series of evocative images to the customers, showing anything from inviting beaches, exotic rainforests to adrenalin-pumping activities. Destination U captures every subtle facial response and emotion, most of which are subconscious. Based of an evaluation of the results, customers are offered personalised holiday experiences. The technology helps customers delve into their subconscious to unlock new travel possibilities and think about options they may not have considered before.

Virtual Reality

Travel agencies also use other cutting-edge technologies, e.g. Virtual Reality. VR goggles and 3D videos enable customers to familiarise themselves in detail with their holiday destinations prior to booking their trip. What does the cabin on my cruise ship actually look like, and what cabin size do I want to book? How close will I be to the beach? On their virtual tours, customers can now discover the answers to these – frequently crucial – questions on their own and obtain a realistic picture of the environment, or start raving about their favourite destination right after taking their decision. However, visitors not using VR goggles are also being catered to: Interactive world maps incorporated in touchpads with a diameter of several metres are a further source of inspiration.

Robots in travel agencies

Travel agency customers are also supported in their decision-making process by helpers such as the new service robot Pepper, which might soon be employed by TUI. Pepper can communicate with customers, identify their emotions by their voice and the expressions on their face, and, for instance, recommend a destination after showing the visitors several holiday motifs. Pepper has already been tested live in TUI stores, and feedback from customers has been particularly positive.

Modern advice

However, progress in travel agencies is not just driven by the technologies outlined above. It also includes a modernisation of obvious factors such as the space concept. Differently designed modular advice areas serve to offer customers various interactive opportunities to explore travel destinations depending on their preferences. While some customers prefer leafing through classical brochures or travel libraries, others prefer to enter into dialogue with our travel agents in a relaxed coffee shop atmosphere with beverages from around the world or use the iPads available to find inspiration.

If you look even further ahead into the future, one thing is certain: TUI clearly puts its customers’ individual needs and preferences at the heart of its activities. TUI is committed to offering experiences that meet these expectations and will continue to modernise and upgrade its worlds of experience to inspire its customers for their next holiday.


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