In around 115 countries around the world, TUI staff members look after the well-being of the holidaymakers around the clock. In the interview, David Schelp, Head of TUI Destination Services, reports on the challenges:
How does TUI look after its customers at the holiday destination?
Our tour guides ensure that our guests feel comfortable. They therefore work closely with the holiday hotels. This can become particularly important if something unforeseen happens – that can occur on holiday just as it can at home. Every day we provide help in many cases in the organisation of appointments with doctors, in particular, where our guests do not speak the local language. We help in the event of strikes in the holiday country and in situations that are unpredictable for holidaymakers. The reliable local contact partner is an essential part of the TUI product promise.
And does the state benefit from this?
Yes, because we provide considerable relief for embassies and consulates all over the world, who would have to become involved when people from their countries find themselves in need of help. Major crises like the ash cloud in 2010, where we organized the transport of hundreds of thousands of guests, are rather rare – but we have the resources and the expertise, also to be able to cope with them.
Do local people benefit, when I make a booking with an experienced travel company?
We always work together with the local people and organisations. Our hotels buy as many goods and products as possible from local farmers or suppliers. We also include vineyards, coffee or tea plantations, handicraft workshops or restaurants in our excursion programmes. Our tour guides and hotel staff are often themselves local natives in the service of TUI – and thus are an expression of the positive contribution that tourism can make to prosperity. Of course, in all our activities we are, however, responsible for the observance of all safety, environmental and social standards of TUI.
TUI is increasingly focusing on digital technologies. Will the provision of human service become superfluous in future, because an app can handle everything?
Human care will never become unnecessary. Anyone who has ever had a minor or major personal emergency situation, knows this. However, technical aids, such as apps, are very useful, for example, in communication or the provision of Individual information and services. You can check-in with apps or organize your travel and hotel programme. Apps can replace the room key and open rental cars. Apps or SMS help us to inform our guests quickly, and the other way around they can contact us very quickly. In a crisis that is particularly useful. However, the personal attention offered by our many tour guides, cannot be programmed in an app.