TUI UK & Ireland Partners With Talend For Single Customer View

The leading travel operator’s new customer engagement platform delivers a richer and more personalized travel experience
Working with Talend has been very effective, the people have been really helpful and engaging, all the projects went very smoothly, on-time and on-budget.
Louise Williams, General Manager Customer Engagement at TUI UK & Ireland


TUI UK and Ireland, part of TUI Group, is the UK’s largest tour operator with key brands including Thomson, First Choice, and Thomson Cruises. Sub brands include Thomson Sensatori, Thomson Couples, Thomson Family Resorts, First Choice Holiday Villages and SplashWorld Resorts. The company employs a team of 13,300 employees and serves over 5.2 million customers each year.

Customer-Centric Vision

The travel industry is undergoing considerable change. Not only has the tourist population doubled over the past 20 years (and will double again over the next 20), but also customers demand faster and more customized services. With access to more travel information online, clients can do a lot of research, expect more personalized services, and want the flexibility to make changes throughout their trip. At the same time, several online travel websites have evolved providing more options. 

TUI UK & Ireland recognizes it needs to continue to deliver superior customer service to address these changes, developing a long-term relationship with repeat business. Its customer-centric vision is to deliver a positive, personalized and seamless customer experience at every customer touch point where value is added at every stage.

Growth Challenges

TUI UK & Ireland offers its customers’ holidays (including flight, accommodation and transfer) through three primary channels - its website, 650 retail stores and a customer contact center. The company has grown through mergers and acquisitions – each of which has brought legacy systems with challenges for sharing data across channels.

“We needed to provide customer data to our frontline teams to enable a greater level of customer service and personalization,” said Louise Williams, General Manager Customer Engagement at TUI UK & Ireland. “It will be a key enabler for our multi-channel strategy to allow customers to transition seamlessly between our sales and services channels.”

Building A 360 Degree Customer View

To deliver on its vision, TUI UK & Ireland needed to be able to share all data in real-time. Customer master data management (MDM) is a method to link all customer data to a single file called a golden record, and then share this information internally where and when needed.

“Previously our customer data was only used by the marketing teams, so it was only updated once a day and only needed to be accessed by a couple of concurrent users,” Williams stated. “We knew that we needed a real-time MDM solution to update and collate data in real-time and also allow access to many users at the same time.”

TUI UK & Ireland recognized it needed to collect data across all touch points of the customer lifecycle from their very first holiday to their most recent – essential when it comes to offering a more personalized relationship. This provides what is known as a 360-degree view of the customer.

“Any information we can capture about our customers in one channel can help personalize the experience and recommendations in other channels,” explains Williams.

Mastering Customer Data with Talend

As part of a new customer engagement platform that included replacing and modernizing many back office systems, TUI UK & Ireland turned to Talend, its MDM solution and its partner Virtusa to solve their customer data management challenges. Talend MDM is a flexible and easy-to-use toolset that unifies any amount of data - from customers to products to suppliers and beyond - into a single, actionable “version of the truth.” Talend MDM combines real-time data, applications, and process integration with embedded data quality and stewardship.

“We liked the fact that the first time we visited the Talend team they understood immediately what we wanted and were as excited about the opportunity as we were,” says Williams. “Many of the other products on the market had added functionality that we just wouldn’t need so we were happy that Talend could offer us a simple solution that would work for us.”

Using Talend’s real-time integration, matching and standardization services, TUI UK & Ireland was able to migrate data from an existing marketing solution, and apply business rules and externally-sourced reference validation information. The system integrates with a reservations platform (AtCore), customer services system (Pega), front-end web platform (Hybris) and a messaging bus (Tibco). Talend data governance is used to gain an understanding of what info comes in, how often it comes in, and customer insight.

Amazing Results

In the end, TUI UK & Ireland customers win as they have a much more personalized travel experience. With a customers’ lifetime of travel activities at their fingertips, TUI UK & Ireland’s call center agents have new insight such as remembering favorite destinations, travel amenities, and anniversaries.

“This modernization project is a key enabler for improved customer experience, enhanced multi-channel capabilities, and reduction of contacts with our contact center,” stated Williams. “Talend is used to automatically merge customers to create a single golden record for each customer.”

With customer data mastered, TUI UK & Ireland can avoid expensive multiple communications to the same person, improve call center resolution times, avoid duplicate data entry efforts, and can remember customers from one holiday to another.

“Working with Talend has been very effective, the people have been really helpful and engaging, all the projects went very smoothly, on-time and on-budget. The project has been very straightforward and met our needs,” says Williams.

Next Steps

TUI UK & Ireland is rolling out the solution to other business areas and plans to deliver new insight by integrating additional sources of analytical data including social media. “We see Talend as a much more modern company with an open source model that is quicker to innovate and a lot more agile to work with -  that has paid off for us,” said Williams.