November 6, 2017

Wish You Were Here: Transforming Content At TUI

After a glamorous rebrand, TUI Group have come out on the other side with a new UK name, a redefined strategy, and a glossy new look; emerging onto television and device screens with beautiful visuals and an aspirational, appealing message. TUI is positioning itself at the forefront of innovation within the travel and hospitality industry, and is developing its content strategy to match. In the travel industry, a marketplace defined by storytelling and tantalising visuals, nowhere is this innovation more important, or apparent, than video marketing. At TUI, this is no exception. Ahead of his presentation at the Winter Digital Marketing Conference, Figaro Digital caught up with Josh Newman, Head of Production at TUI Group, to find out how the brand is enriching its content offering.

From Beginning To Booking – And Beyond

As the global brand establishes itself within the digital space, TUI is working to understand and define how its voice, and its manner of communicating with customers is going to evolve as the brand grows. The dynamic of consumer communication within the travel industry takes on a new level of importance compared to others, appealing to an emotional requirement to see, explore and adventure. “There have been comments recently that all brands are publishing companies, and for travel brands that might be even truer. But I don’t completely agree with that view,” says Newman. As an end-to-end provider of tailored holiday packages, TUI connects with customers at a wide variety of different touchpoints and cements a relationship from booking to goodbye. “As a vertically integrated company, we manage an airline, hotels, buses; we have very large parts of our business that aren’t publishing. But in terms of customer acquisition and customer engagement, content strategy is really important, and content is more than just a means of immediate sales and conversion.” As consumers embark on their long-anticipated holiday, the content provided by TUI is the glue that ties the experience together, transforming the experience and giving the brand its individual personality and appeal. “We’re giving [the customer] a complete journey, through the airport, the transfer to the hotel, the excursions, and delivering them safely back home. We can see how important content is to all parts of that journey, and we are working as hard and fast as we can to make sure that customers can interact with us and our content in all the ways they need to.”

A Home-Grown Process

Part of the evolution of TUI’s evolving content strategy was to take ownership of the various stages of production, so that the end product was authentic and true to the TUI voice and values. “In the past, we would get an agency to come in, shoot the video we needed, pop it on the website and move on to the next one,” says Newman. “When we send a crew, we are far more engaged – we are managing it much more directly, thinking about what we need to give our customers to inspire and support them.” An in-house creative team also gives TUI the freedom and flexibility to react to events in a timely and seamless way. The process of content curation is a continuous project, and the team is always prepared to adapt the strategy as and when appropriate. “Say we wanted to make a piece of content for International Turtle Day, for example. It’s a quick hit, it has a short lifespan. But because of the way we’re collecting and curating content, we’re able to do that, rather than having to commission a piece every time we want something.” The ability to react quickly to the social media scene and other industry influences means it is easier than ever for TUI to show its personality and values, respond to customer sentiment, and embellish its digital footprint.

Data And Decision-Making

Another key element of TUI’s refreshed content strategy scoring big for customer engagement is the increased relevance, made possible by sophisticated targeting. An enhanced segmentation of TUI’s customer data tailors the content depending on segment and platform. “We have customer segments with different needs and different understandings, so what we want to do is create content that can reach all of these customer segments depending on where they might be.” This is another area where TUI’s rich content offering comes to the fore. As each of TUI’s unique products are marketable to a variety of different consumer groups, the brand needs data, and messaging, that can keep up. “A product like Sensatori has a very broad range,” continues Newman. “It is a luxury product, but customers can go as single travellers, they can go with friends, with family, as a couple – all holiday types can go if they are looking for that bit of luxury. So we create different edits that can be served in specific channels, but which are all designed with that unique ‘Sensatori’ element in mind.”

Habits Die Hard

Part of TUI’s new mission statement is putting the customer (or, ‘U’), in the centre, and a key part of that is understanding the differences that make TUI’s customer base so rich, and so diverse. “One key area is recognising that we do have those different audiences that are going to interact on our channels in different ways. So what we need for social media, for example, is completely different than what we’ll use on television,” explains Newman. With so many different segments to communicate with, it’s not simply a case of finding the biggest channels. “If we are trying to reach a youth audience, we’re not going to get those results through television. Even though a TV campaign is by far the best way to maximise brand impact, there are segments of our audience which aren’t necessarily going to be reached that way.” Catering to these disparate segments is what allows TUI to make the most of its extensive content offering and talented creative team, even if that content isn’t even an extension of the brand’s digital presence. “We still have large numbers of our guests who won’t engage with us on any internet medium, but will go to their local travel agents in person, and will book with us that way. So we’re supporting the content needs for print brochures as well, and making sure that content is as accessible as possible. We recognise that it’s not only customer segments that we have to reach in different ways, but also customer behaviours.”

By uniting the customer journey through carefully crafted and well-targeted content, TUI is ensuring that the holiday experience for its customers extends well before and after booking. Making sure every customer’s needs and habits are respected and well-provided for, even when that means stepping out of the digital sphere, shows a commitment to customer satisfaction which helps to minimise the stressful hurdles of booking a trip away. As Newman explains, it’s the behaviour of customers which dictates the most effective ways to reach them, and by extension the language and visuals that will inspire a booking. Using this insight to offer consumers content that suits their needs and compliments their booking journey means TUI can truly live up to the promises of its fresh new persona.

To hear Josh speak more about the exciting video innovation taking place at TUI, be sure to join us at the Figaro Digital Winter Marketing Conference on 6 December. We will be joined by a host of digital marketing experts from across industries, all prepared to share their best insights to arm you for the digital space in 2018. Read the agenda and buy your ticket here.