Thomson set to register the busiest Dinky holiday period this September

Thomson, the UK-based holiday company, is set to register the busiest month for child-free holidays, as 190,000 ‘Dinkys’ (Dual Income, No Kids Yet) plan to jet off on holiday this September.

According to a release by the company, September 13 was the busiest day of the ‘Dinky Getaway’ with thousands of couples jetting off for the last of the summer sun. Such holidays are becoming popular with the number of couples jetting off on holidays increasing by ten per cent compared to last year.

In addition to Dinky, Thomson has also seen an increase in those couples who have children but prefer a quieter time by jetting off without their offspring. A recent research by the holiday company has shown that over 34 per cent of parents of children under-18 already take child-free holidays, leaving their kids with ex-partners or other family members.

Luke Gaskins, Head of Product Development & Delivery at Thomson, said: ‘Last year we noticed a significant rise in couples heading off on a Dinky getaway and this year has been no different. As the kids go back to school, September is an ideal time to catch the last of the summer sunshine and take advantage of the quieter beaches, hotels and pools.’

The most popular regional airports for couples departing on Dinky getaways are London Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester, while the top destinations include Cyprus, Majorca and Tenerife.

Thomson has seen a 46 per cent increase in bookings at its Thomson Couples properties in the last two years and recently added three new properties into its Couples programme for summer 2015, bringing the collection to 55 hotels.

Holidaymakers looking for a child-free period prefer seven night durations, on an all-inclusive board basis, with an average cost of a holiday at £1,300 per couple.

Thomson’s holiday deals for couples in September include seven nights in Mexico’s Pacific Coast staying at the 5T Secrets Vallarta Bay Thomson Couples Resort, 14 nights in Mauritius staying at the 4T Ambre Resort and Spa Thomson Couples Resort, seven nights in Crete staying at the 5T Atlantica Kalliston Resort and Spa Thomson Couples Resort, and seven nights in Croatia staying at the 4T+ Kalamota Island Resort by Karisma Thomson Couples Resort.

Thomson expands Couples collection as parents prefer adults-only holiday

Thomson, the UK-based holiday company, has announced plans to expand its Couples collection after a survey found that stressed-out parents increasingly prefer holidays without their children.

Research by the holiday company revealed a 46 percent rise in bookings in its Couples collection in the last two years. Over 34 percent of parents of children under 18 already take child-free holidays, leaving the children with their ex-partners or other family members. Of those who currently holiday with their children, 57 percent said that given the chance, they’d go away without them.

Shared parenting between divorced and separated mums and dads and hands-on grand-parenting are also on the rise, allowing adult tourists child-free time to holiday with friends or a new partner.

Of those surveyed, 43 percent said that they chose child-free holidays to spend more quality time with their partners, and a further 34 percent said they needed a rest from family life. Nearly 55 percent said they enjoy the calm and quiet of an adults-only holiday, and nearly one in three confessed that they don’t like other people’s children.

Mark Hall, Director of Product, said; ‘Family holidays are undoubtedly a great way to spend time together, but even the most dedicated of parents need time away from their children sometimes. An adults-only holiday can allow couples to reconnect with each other and have a well-deserved break.’

Thomson Couples is a range of contemporary, adults-only hotels aimed at couples and friends who want to spend time abroad in a laid-back environment.

Thomson has added three new properties to its Couples programme for summer 2015, bringing the collection to 55 hotels. The new additions include the hotel 4T+ Palm Beach Palace in Djerba, Tunisia and 4T+Sensimar Side at Antalya, Turkey – both good for lovers of the beach. Also announced earlier this year for summer 2015 is the adults-only Hotel Atlantic Palace in Italy, in the Neapolitan Riviera near Sorrento and offering panoramic views of Mount Vesuvius.

 

Thomson and First Choice launch ‘Collection’ range of exclusive excursions

Thomson and First Choice have launched a new range of exclusive excursions – ‘Collection’ – tailored to help customers get a taste of their holiday destination.

With the launch, Thomson and First Choice customers can now browse and book a range of special, exclusive excursions online and in-store before they travel.

Each of the holiday destinations has reportedly been verified to guarantee that they deliver greener, fairer holidays and comply with sustainability principles. The excursions that are part of the Thomson Collection and First Choice Collection are required to meet at least three of the six features enlisted to set them apart from excursions offered by other tour operators. To qualify, every excursion must be exclusive to TUI, should have no commercial stops, as well as meet minimum criteria for sustainability.

Jane Ashton, Group Director of Sustainable Development, says: ‘We’re delighted to be offering a range of exclusive and exciting excursions with sustainability principles that our customers can’t get anywhere else.

We’ve put criteria in place to make sure that all excursions which are part of either the Thomson or the First Choice Collection are exclusive to us with whilst meeting sustainability minimum criteria. We’re very conscious about the impact of our holidays on the environment and local community and are always looking at ways of reducing this, and including our excursions in this is the next step for us.’

Thomson and First Choice Collection excursions are available in Majorca, Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, Tenerife, Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata and Punta Cana) and Turkey (Dalaman).

Where possible the offer will include Wi-Fi on the excursion, and point out local charms that only a tour guide with detailed local knowledge would usually find.

 

TUI to launch in-flight iPad trials this summer

TUI UK & Ireland, which operates the Thomson and First Choice brands, has announced that it will launch an in-flight iPad trial in the summer for Thomson Airways crew at its Luton Airport base.

The move comes after TUI UK & Ireland successfully introduced a multi-million pound technology programme across its entire overseas network.

Part of the TUInnovate programme, the iPad project seeks to enhance customer satisfaction and differentiate TUI UK & Ireland’s experience for customers. With the iPad project, cabin crew will have access to information about the customers’ destination and can make recommendations about the best excursions for their party, restaurants and places to shop. The crew will also have access to customers’ historic booking information, helping them to recognise loyal and returning customers and provide a more personal service.

The iPads will also enable TUI UK & Ireland to connect its cabin crew with overseas holiday advisors, passing on any and all relevant information on customers who are set to arrive at the resort.

Carl Gissing, Director of Customer Service for Thomson Airways, said: ‘This programme will really help us take our customer service to the next level as cabin crew will be able to make recommendations to customers about what to see and do in resort, and even suggest a quiet spot to enjoy a sunset.

It will also allow us to recognise loyal and returning customers, which we know they will appreciate. This programme is just one of many ways in which we as a business are focusing on innovation and we can’t wait for all our customers travelling from Luton this summer to experience the benefits it offers.’

Following the introduction of iPads, TUI UK & Ireland has reportedly received impressive feedback from overseas employees and customers with an increase in customer satisfaction questionnaire (CSQ) results overall, particularly for ‘Holiday Overall’ scores.

Following the trial, Thomson Airways will roll the programme out across all UK Airport bases in 2015.

 

Thomson and First Choice offer half term getaways

With half term fast approaching, Thomson and First Choice are offering a range of holiday getaways centred around the whole family.

The resorts and locales on offer include Thomson Sensatori – Crete, Thomson Family Resorts – Majorca and Kos, Holiday Village – Cyprus and SplashWorld – Majorca.

Thomson Sensatori resorts is claimed to have much to offer for families – parents can enjoy quality time with little ones at the Stay and Play sessions at the Play House. UK-accredited childcare staff is also on hand day or night to treat children to parties, movies and sleepovers. Thomson offers seven night holidays to Crete with stay at the 5T Sensatori Resort Crete on a full board basis from £740 per adult, while the first child travels from £550 and from £614 for the second.

The select Thomson Family Resorts collection features 4T and 5T hotels designed for family holidays. Family Resorts, which comes with the standard children’s buffets and family-size rooms, also offer locations near the beach. Thomson offers seven night holidays to Majorca with stay at the 4T+ Protur Aparthotel Bonaire Thomson Family Resort on a half board basis from £589 per adult, first child travels from £469 and from £535 for the second.

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Kos with stay at the 5T Blue Lagoon Village Thomson Family Resort on an all-inclusive basis from £1,180 per adult, first child travels from £529 and from £615 for the second. Price is based on a family of four sharing and includes flights departing from Cardiff airport on the 24th May 2014.

Cyprus Holiday Villages boasts kids’ clubs, academies and dedicated activities for teenagers as part of the deal. First Choice offers seven night holidays to Cyprus with stay at the 4Sun Holiday Village Aliathon on an all-inclusive basis from £914 per adult, children travel from £584.

SplashWorld holidays offer families a trip to the waterpark, as unlimited access is included in the price. First Choice offers seven night holidays to Majorca with stay at the 3Sun Hotel Saturno SplashWorld Resort on an all-inclusive basis from £774 per adult, first child travels from £485 and from £570 for the second.

All prices are based on a family of four sharing. Flights to the different destinations are now operating from London Stansted, Newcastle, Cardiff airport and Doncaster Sheffield.

Thomson Cruises offers new shore excursions for summer

Thomson Cruises has launched the sale of its new summer 2014 Shore Excursion programme.

This summer season will see the launch of several new tours, including the chauffeur-driven Tuk Tuk Amsterdam Adventure through Holland’s cosmopolitan capital.

The Summer Dog Sledding on Wheels fly-by tour in Longyearbyen, Norway offers guests the chance to be pulled through the Arctic Tundra by a pack of huskies. For eco-tourists, the Eden Project offers a walking tour of the largest domed greenhouse in the world, located in the heart of Cornish mining country.

The cruise line will also be re-visiting Italy this summer, offering guests the ‘Rome All in One Day’ excursion, taking in the most famous city landmarks, including the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and the Colosseum. The ‘Athens and the Acropolis’ tour remains on the Thomson Celebration programme, showcasing the city’s historical sites. From Norway, Thomson Spirit cruisers on an ex-UK itinerary can again choose a trip skywards on the Flam Railway Adventure, one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world.

In addition to the usual favourites, Thomson Cruises says that it is looking to offer something different, from Sea-trek R.I.B Adventures in Stornoway and riding Segways in Rome, to Touring Riga by a Retro Tram and relaxing boat rides to the Isle of Mozia and Marsala from Trapani, Sicily.

Helen Caron, managing director of Thomson Cruises, said, ‘As with all of our excursions, we’ve hand-picked some new additions to the summer 2014 programme, which we’re confident our customers will enjoy. Our excursions are very popular and often sell out, so allowing customers to plan ahead and book their excursions before they’ve even left home ensures they get to experience everything on their ‘must-see’ list for their cruise.’

Customers can now browse and book excursions online, with advance bookings offering savings on the on-board price. They can also amend excursion bookings up to 24 hours before the tour departs, offering extra flexibility.

The re-launch of the Thomson and First Choice websites has resulted in record visits in January, over 17.9 million visits were made to the new websites, and 50 percent of all bookings were made online, the holiday company said.

Thomson and First Choice offer romantic destinations for Valentine’s Day

UK-based holiday company, Thomson and First Choice, claims to have put together some of the best destinations for couples looking for the perfect romantic getaway this Valentine’s Day.

The locales are claimed to be the best spots to escape the cold and rain and celebrate Valentine’s Day abroad with sunshine, golden sandy beaches and peaceful settings. The destinations on offer include:

1. Thomson Couples, El Dorado Seaside Suites, Mexico

Thomson offers 14 night Couples holidays to Mexico, staying at the El Dorado Seaside Suites, by Karisma on an all-inclusive basis, from £1,719 per person. The price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from Gatwick airport on February 11, 2014.

Thomson says, Welcomed with a chilled glass of champagne, the stylish Travelife Gold awarded 5T El Dorado Seaside Suites offers a first class setting to ensure a relaxing and romantic Valentine’s getaway.

2. Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica

Thomson offers 14 night holidays to Jamaica, staying at the 5T Couples Tower Isle on an all-inclusive basis, from £2,160 per person. The price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from Manchester airport on February 13, 2014.

Thomson says, Located in beautiful settings surrounded by gardens dotted with palm trees, the Couples Tower Isle is perfect for a quiet and peaceful Valentine’s holiday. With a private sandy beach and adjacent swimming pools, the adults-only hotel is luxury at its finest.

3. Sensatori Tenerife

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Tenerife staying at the Travelife Gold awarded 5T+ Sensatori Tenerife on a full board basis, from £1,290 per person. The price is based on two adults sharing in the Red Level section, and includes flights departing from Birmingham airport on February 9, 2014.

Thomson says, Designed to fuel the senses, Sensatori features a modern design and is complete with a spa, sauna and steam room. For the more active couple, the hotel also offers a gym, as well as various sport and activity classes available, including tennis, archery, sushi making and wine tasting.

4. Ndogo Safari & Southern Palms, Kenya

For the more adventurous couple, First Choice offers safari tour and stay options; combining a three night safari in the breath-taking Tsavo East and West National Parks with an 11-night stay at the stunning Southern Palms Resort.

First Choice offers 14-night Tour & Stay holidays to Kenya, incorporating a three night Ndogo Safari with an 11-night stay at the 4Sun Southern Palms on an all-inclusive basis from £1,975 per person. The price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from Glasgow airport on 10th February 2014 and transfers.

5. Thomson Platinum Riu Tikida Palmeraie, Marrakech, Morocco

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Marrakech staying at the Travelife Gold awarded Platinum 4T+ Riu Tikida Palmeraie on an all-inclusive basis, from £465 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from Gatwick airport on 10th February 2014.

Part of Thomson’s Platinum portfolio, the company says that the all-inclusive hotel, which looks like a traditional desert village, is in a peaceful location within easy reach of Marrakech. Excursions on offer include visits to the Garden of Marrakech, a beautiful home with manicured Gardens owned by international designer Yves Saint Laurent.

6. Thomson Chic and Unique Living Room Hotel, Goa

Thomson offers 14 night holidays to Goa staying at the 3T+ Living Room, on a bed and breakfast basis, from £899 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from Manchester airport on 10th February 2014.

Thomson says, With its Buddha statues, water fountains and stylish interiors, the Living Room is a boutique hotel with a laid-back, bohemian edge. Thomson also offers some fantastic excursions in Goa showcasing what India really has to offer.

Thomson and First Choice record busiest days on Sunshine Saturday and Sunday

Predictions for ‘Sunshine Saturday’ proved correct, as Thomson and First Choice saw the busiest day of the year this weekend.

According to the UK-based holiday company, almost 1.2 million people visited a Thomson shop or searched for a holiday online last Saturday, with more than 36,000 people booking a holiday.

Online bookings represented an increase of 25 percent compared to the same day in 2013. Sunshine Saturday continued into Sunshine Sunday online, with a 24 percent growth in online bookings on Sunday, compared to the same day in 2013.

Thomson and First Choice’s highest web sales were registered on Sunday, beating the previous peak by 26 percent.

Sharm el Sheikh, Majorca and Ibiza were the most popular short- and mid-haul destinations booked online, with the Caribbean coast of Mexico as the long-haul favourite.

In line with the trend over the Christmas and New Year period, bookings via Thomson and First Choice’s fully mobile optimised websites were up 130 percent via tablet, and 78 percent via mobile, compared to the same period in 2013.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing and digital director for Thomson and First Choice said: ‘The majority of people have two key periods of time to look forward to every year – Christmas and their annual summer holiday. With Christmas firmly out of the way and so many fantastic deals available it is no surprise that we are seeing more people booking their sunshine break as soon as they go back to work!’

In addition to TV advertising, Thomson and First Choice supported its busiest day with a series of press adverts, including the launch of Thomson’s ‘Live’ press campaign. On Saturday, national newspapers also featured a glimpse of Sensatori Mexico and its desirable weather, together with an offer of up to GBP400 off the price of a holiday per couple.

Travelling to 88 destinations in over 30 countries, Thomson and First Choice, a part of TUI UK & Ireland, take over 5.5 million customers away each year.

Thomson expects this weekend to be the busiest for holiday bookings

UK-based holiday providers Thomson and First Choice are expecting this Saturday, January 11, to be the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings.

Based on past booking patterns, the holiday companies, both part of TUI UK & Ireland, are expecting over a million people to go online or visit their high street stores on January 11, termed Sunshine Saturday.

With a growing number of Brits looking to escape to warmer climes following a rainy Christmas break and predictions of freezing weather, Thomson and First Choice are expecting to see 35,000 customers book to go on holiday in 2014. Bookings are predicted to peak in-store at 2pm and online at 8.45pm.

While Greece, the Balearics and Croatia fit the bill for those looking for short-haul destinations, Jamaica, Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico are set to top the list for those seeking faraway sunny locales.

Thomson Cruises Pride of Panama itinerary on board the Thomson Dream is expected to be a Sunshine Saturday bestseller as Brits look to explore countries including Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia from the ship’s new home port in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Jeremy Ellis, marketing and digital director for Thomson and First Choice, said: ‘With Christmas firmly out of the way many people want a holiday in the sunshine to look forward to. Over the last few years we’ve seen a trend towards booking holidays earlier and with record bookings over Christmas we’re expecting the rush to continue with our busiest day of year this Saturday. It’s also the perfect time for Brits to take advantage of some of the great January deals available to places like Greece and Croatia or further afield to Jamaica and Mauritius.

Thomson and First Choice have also recently announced holiday packages for the summer. First Choice is offering 14-night holidays to Mauritius in April and May on an all-inclusive basis from £1,599 per person, saving £740 per couple. Meanwhile, in May Thomson is offering 7-night holidays to Rhodes from £539 per person, saving £190 per couple; 7-night holidays to Jamaica, from £999 per person, saving £450 per couple; and 7-night holidays to Croatia from £439 per person, saving £200 per couple.

Thomson and First Choice launch deals for summer 2014, New Year and Christmas

Two of the UK’s leading holiday brands, Thomson and First Choice, have launched a range of savings and early booking offers both online, over the phone and in their 694 retail shops across the country.

As per the offers, Thomson and First Choice customers can now benefit from reported savings of up to £300 per couple, free kids places and further reductions on selected holidays.

Andrew Flintham, Commercial Director, for Thomson and First Choice, said: ‘We’re dedicated to offering customers a holiday that suits their tastes, as well as their budgets. That’s why over the past year we have increased our offering to include some great new destinations such as Mauritius and Puerto Vallarta flying on the Thomson Dreamliner, more exclusive products, new concept hotels and increased capacity in popular short haul destinations such as Greece. We have some great deals available for the New Year and with thousands of free kids places we anticipate that customers will book early to take advantage of these fantastic offers.’

The campaign highlights include:

Free kids places, subject to availability, in selected hotels including Thomson Family Resorts, First Choice Holiday Villages, First Choice SplashWorld, First Choice SuneoClub and First Choice Club Magic Life;

Up to £300 off on selected Thomson and First Choice Summer 2014 holidays;

One off ‘sunshine super saver’ deals on Thomson and First Choice December and January sale for summer 2014 including:

First Choice’s 14 night holidays to Mauritius from £1,599 per person, saving £740 per couple; seven night holidays to Menorca from £769 per person, saving £380 per couple; 14 night holidays to Turkey from £849 per person, saving £400 per couple; and seven night Couples holidays to Marrakech from £399 per person, saving £330 per couple.

The saver deals also cover Thomson’s 14 night holidays to Florida from £1,119 per person, saving £670 per couple; seven night holidays to the Dominican Republic, from £799 per person, saving £190 per couple; and seven night holidays to Tenerife from £329 per adult. The price for Tenerife is based on a family of four sharing, and includes a saving of £359.

The campaign also boasts low deposits on Thomson and First Choice summer 2014 (1st May -31st October 2014) holiday bookings only, but excludes accommodation-only and flight-only bookings. The low deposit amount on short, mid or long-haul destinations is £150 per person or £350 per family.