Since a traveller can easily access online all the information it requires about a particular destination, is there still a need for tour operators to operate a brick and mortar store? It seems unnecessary although there are still travellers in certain markets that require the physical stores.

It is already the digital age but travel brands like TUI Group still need the physical stores in some markets where travellers want to plan their holiday trips in person. Actually, TUI Group no longer has retail presence in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden but in Germany the company still offers about 75% of its tour packages through stores. In the UK, it is a fifty-fifty split between physical stores and digital.

According to Erik Friemuth, the chief marketing officer of TUI Group, retail needs tend to change. While most travellers have the tools to book online, they also need the stores to gain more detailed information. Over the past years, retail has been significantly shrinking; however, in the last two or three years, customers book online while seeking for more recommendations and advice through physical stores.

TUI Group has already removed most of its glossy paper brochures from its stores because it has acknowledged that the company has to adapt to the digital age. However, technology and human contact must complement with each other. The challenge is how to present new experiences that will better serve the requirements of customers who are not too happy to book online but are also challenged by brick and mortar stores.

The way that retail is presented must be fitting to the needs of customers. A good way to attract travellers is to have some products that fit perfectly with certain consumer segments. TUI Group and its partners home to attract more customers from Asia and South America including China that has the potential of a strong market.

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