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Published on Tuesday, July 30, 2002

The TravelMole Interview: Chris Mottershead, TUI UK

TUI UK will this week launch its second edition Skytours brochure with price cuts of up to 25% on around 250,000 packages for summer 2003.

The move follows rival Airtours’ decision to slash holiday prices in its second-edition programmes with a controversial new policy claiming ‘the price you see in the brochure is the price you pay for your holiday.’

Chris MottersheadBut TUI UK managing director Chris Mottershead (left), who looks after the Thomson and Lunn Poly brands, said the move was not a response to Airtours and added he was unlikely to follow suit with Thomson’s main Summersun brochure.

"This has been planned for some time, we wouldn’t have had time to copy Airtours’ strategy. Thomson tried it last year with its main programme and it didn’t really work," Mr Mottershead told TravelMole.

He added: "Skytours is our budget brand and I just think we’ve got a better chance of success by offering rock-bottom prices on this product."

Lunn Poly has deracked all brochures belonging to MyTravel, including Airtours, after a major disagreement between the two companies, but Mr Mottershead revealed that talks on the issue were planned later this week.

TUI was incensed by Airtours’ new advertising campaign, which referred to Thomson’s decision to charge extra for meals and transfers with the slogan ‘we are cutting prices, others are cutting corners.’

Mr Mottershead explained: "We don’t have any objection to their pricing, it was the swipe at our quality that we objected to.

"They are trying to say, in clever marketing speak, that our customers are somehow thumbing a lift at the side of the road. They are not, they can buy a coach transfer if they wish.

"As managing director of TUI UK I can’t have one of our businesses supporting a company which is attacking another part of our business. It doesn’t make sense. But the door is always open for a resolution and further talks will take place next week."

Mr Mottershead claimed that TUI retailers, including Lunn Poly, were substantial sellers of MyTravel products, which include the short break specialists Bridge and Cresta, but said retaliatory action would not affect his company. He claimed: "MyTravel has never really sold any our holidays, so that wouldn’t have any affect on us."

Mr Mottershead joined TUI in December from rival MyTravel, where he was president and chief executive officer of its North American Leisure Group. He said his two main goals were to remove the perception that Thomson was more expensive than rivals and to increase its distribution among retailers.

"Everyone knows that Thomson offers very good quality, but in this market you also have to be priced correctly," he said.

"I also believe that there is no such thing as adequate distribution and I’ve tried to take a different line with independents, giving them the same deals as Lunn Poly gets. So far it is working and we’ve seen a 10-20% uplift in sales from independents."

See our previous story:
12 Jul 2002: Airtours gambles on clearer brochure prices

See previous TravelMole Interviews:
23-Jul-2002: Seamus Conlon, Airtours Holidays
15-Jul-02: David Soskin,
09-Jul-02: Bruce Bishins, Genesis TDS
01-Jul-02: Howard Frost, Travelink
25-Jun-02: Rob Wortham, RWA
17-Jun-02: Paul Blackney, Worldspan
11-Jun-02: Mark Jones, Online Travel Corporation
27-May-02: Oliver Hillel, UNEP
20-May-02: Keith Webber, Telewest
13-May-02: Mark O'Brien, Rosenbluth International
07-May-02: Alicia Gardner, Sabre
29-Apr-02: Carolyn Ezzell, Delta Air Lines
23-Apr-02: John Davis, Pegasus Solutions
15-Apr-02: Gregory Hunt, ABTA Arbitration Scheme
09-Apr-02: Stuart Winter, Atinera
03-Apr-02: Roberto Da Re, Dolphin Dynamics
26-Mar-02: Arnaud Debuchy, Amadeus
19-Mar-02: Helen Baker,
12-Mar-02: Pat Minogue, Galileo
07-Mar-02: Jon Hart, MyTravel
28-Feb-02: Lawrence Hunt, Rapid Travel Solutions

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  • tui pay witholding!

    Chris Mottershead presides over a company that fails to pay resort staff their wages on time or "at All"

    By charles de richelieu, Friday, November 14, 2003

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