by Leo King

TUI travel to IT standardisation with Thomson and First Choice brands

Nov 30, 2009
IT StrategyMedia and Entertainment IndustryMobile Apps

First Choicehas moved onto the Thomson in-house reservation platform, contributing to £93 million annual savings after the merger of the two holiday companies.

The combined companies, which merged in 2007 to form Tui Travel, are running the in-house Thomson Reservation System, also known as TRACS. Other “core” IT integration and standardisation efforts also contributed to the savings.

First Choice completed its move to TRACS in the summer, scrapping the Gemini platform it had been using. Most of Tui Travel’s other UK brands, which include specialist tour companies, are also now on the TRACS system.

Tui Traveltoday told investors the move was one of several “significant achievements” in the UK during its financial year to 30 September, and was performed alongside other “consolidation of the core IT systems”.

Other savings came from creating a single roster of former Thomson and First Choice cabin crews and pilots, and the integration of Island Cruises with Thomson Cruises. Tui Travel’s UK profits jumped 38 per cent year-on-year to £184 million, and group profits climbed 15 percent to £366 million.

Nevertheless, the group spent £143 million in the year merging the two companies, of which the UK costs formed the “majority” of expenditure.

In an investor presentation shown after the announcement of Thomson and First Choice’s merger, Tui Travel made clear it wanted to make the selection of systems that would lead to the “quickest implementation”, and chose to stick with TRACS. The system also offered the “best fit and optimal cost performance”, it said.

The group’s UK-wide move onto Tracs began in April 2008, and would not “distract from core integration work”, the company said at the time.

Yesterday, rival Thomas Cook said it had saved £205 million in the year from its merger with MyTravel. It added that it would take a harder line than before on IT suppliers, as part of ongoing cost cuts, using its greater scale.