Thomson and First Choice expands services to sun destinations from Bristol Airport for summer 2018

Thomson and First Choice have announced that they have increased their capacity for summer 2018 at Bristol Airport with the addition of new routes to Funchal, Madeira and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The holiday company is also offering new 10 and 11 night breaks to Bulgaria and Dubrovnik for holidaymakers flying from the south-west of England.

Holiday-makers travelling to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from Bristol will fly on Thomson’s new 787 Dreamliner plane and will be able to visit hotels such as the 5T TUI Sensatori Resort Azul Punta Cana. Those travelling on the new route to Funchal, Madeira will also now have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular hotels, including the 4T TUI Sensimar Savoy Gardens, an adults-only hotel offering scenic views of Funchal and the ocean.

Following increased demand, the holiday company has also introduced the new 10 and 11 night breaks from Bristol airport. With the move customers will now have improved holiday flexibility to purchase getaways to destinations such as Bulgaria and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for TUI UK & Ireland, said: ‘Adding more capacity from Bristol with the introduction of new routes to Funchal, Madeira and new 10 and 11 night breaks to Bulgaria and Dubrovnik, Croatia demonstrates our commitment to the airport and the local area. Increasing access to our exciting collection of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.’

Peter Downes, Head of Aviation for Bristol Airport, said: ‘We’re really pleased to hear that Thomson and First Choice are increasing the number of flights, holidays and destinations available from Bristol Airport. The introduction of Punta Cana as a long haul destination is particularly exciting and I am sure it will attract plenty of local holiday makers who can’t wait to travel on the new 787 Dreamliner. Florida and Mexico destinations commencing from May 2017 are already proving popular and this new long haul route adds to the growing number of destinations available for passengers.’

Thomson and First Choice add capacity at Bristol, Cardiff airports

UK holiday companies Thomson and First Choice have said that they will be adding capacity at Bristol Airport, in winter 2015/16, through the introduction of new routes to Sal in Cape Verde, Hurghada in Egypt and Paphos, Cyprus.

The new Thomson Airways’ route to the popular destination of Paphos in Cyprus will allow customers from Bristol and nearby to benefit from Thomson Cruises’ exclusive Cruise & Stay programmes in the region, which includes calls at Ashdod, Israel (for Jerusalem and Bethlehem) and Athens, Greece.

The holiday company also announced that – in winter 2015/16 – the popular Fuerteventura flight will now operate on a Saturday giving sunseekers and holidaymakers the convenience and benefit of weekend breaks. In addition, Thomson and First Choice will also be introducing a second weekly flight to Lanzarote from Cardiff Airport in winter 2015/16.

Commenting on the capacity addition at Bristol Airport, Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for Thomson and First Choice, said: ‘Regional airports are an important part of our strategy and this latest announcement of new routes and increased capacity demonstrates our commitment to Bristol Airport and the local area.’

On the second route to Lanzarote, Switzer said ‘Lanzarote is a really popular destination for our customers almost all year round, so it is great to offer the additional capacity from Cardiff Airport. We know that flying from your local airport is really valued by our customers and is part of our strategy to enhance their overall holiday experience.’

Shaun Browne, Aviation Director at Bristol Airport, said: ‘We are delighted Thomson and First Choice have chosen Bristol Airport to offer these exciting new destinations, building on their strong existing programme. This is great news for holidaymakers across the West of England, for whom the combination of exotic new destinations and improved flight options to popular favourites is sure to be a winner.’

Spencer Birns, Aviation Business Development Director at Cardiff Airport said; ‘We are really pleased with Thomson and First Choice’s decision to add extra capacity to Lanzarote next winter. There is big demand in Wales for the Canary Islands and now our customers are being offered more travel options to popular holiday destinations from Cardiff Airport.’

 

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 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 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.

Thomson and First Choice set to offer free Wi-Fi in all concept hotels

UK-based holiday company, Thomson and First Choice, will offer free Wi-Fi in all concept hotels, Travel Weekly has reported.

Starting May 1, Wi-Fi will be provided free of charge across 135 hotels in 42 destinations, with access available throughout the hotels, benefiting nearly one million holidaymakers. This includes Thomson Sensatori, Couples, Family Resorts, Scene and Gold hotels, as well as First Choice Holiday Village, SplashWorld, Club Magic Life and SuneoClub resorts.

The move comes after research involving Thomson and First Choice customers found that they valued free Wi-Fi over traditional hotel amenities like room service. Guests in family resorts rated Wi-Fi access to be almost as significant as having a quiet time and relaxing by the swimming pool.

The reesearch revealed that 60 percent of guests valued Wi-Fi and rated it as important to their overall holiday experience.

Product director, Mark Hall, said: ‘We know how highly people value Wi-Fi in hotels as a service and as such we will be offering free Wi-Fi throughout our exclusive hotel concepts at no extra cost to our guests.

‘Through research we’ve seen that Wi-Fi is an integral part of our customers’ holiday experience and that they want to access social media sites, keep in contact with loved ones at home and research the area they are staying in whilst away.’

According to a separate report by the BBC, travel company Tui, which owns Thomson and First Choice, said that the outlook for 2014 remained promising despite one-off costs and weak French demand in 2013.

The holiday operator added that trading for winter was on track, with 60 percent of its programme already sold, adding that it was ‘pleased’ with summer 2014 trading. Tui has now terminated unprofitable routes and reduced its long-haul programme.

London Southend airport lands more Thomson, First Choice flights

Thomson, First Choice, a brand name of Crawley, UK-based Tui Travel, is to add more flights to its schedules for 2014.

The company intends to increase its services from Southend by 300 percent in the next 12 months, compared to its current schedules. The new flights will include a second weekly service to Palma, Majorca, and the opening up of a new destination for the company, Ibiza. The use of local airports to facilitate customer convenience has driven the decision. The additional weekly flight to Majorca will also allow the company’s package holiday clients to have a greater degree of choice over the duration of their holiday, to include 10 and 11-night stays instead of just 14.

Thomson and First Choice airport negotiations manager, Paul Cooper, commented on the company’s expansion at London Southend, saying, ‘Adding these routes from London Southend Airport demonstrates our commitment to the East of England and following the success of similar routes across a number of regional airports, we know that the demand is there and we know customers are keen to fly from their local airport. Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and we hope that this move will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.’

The additions to the Thomson, First Choice schedule were announced as London Southend airport prepares to open its new Arrivals area by the 17th of this month. This is the second stage of redevelopment at the terminal, with the first stage having opened a year ago.

Alastair Welch, the MD of London Southend Airport, commented, ‘We are very pleased that Thomson and First Choice have taken the decision to expand the services they offer from London Southend so soon and we hope this will allow even more of their passengers to experience our new and expanding facilities over the next year.’

First Choice travel to go all-inclusive from 2012

The all-inclusive holiday has been revived as travellers try to keep to a tight budget. Going all-inclusive has become hugely popular due to the recession, as holiday makers keep the holiday spending to a minimum.

Now First Choice, one of the UK’s largest travel operators, has announced it will be embracing this trend and making all of its holidays all-inclusive from 2012. This leaves travellers to pay for their holiday and need little in the way of spending money when actually abroad. Everything from flights, to food and drink – including alcoholic beverages – are included

Johan Lundgren, the UK and Ireland managing director of First Choice’s parent company Tui said: ‘All-inclusive is becoming the holiday of choice for many British consumers, offering them great value for money, yet there is no mainstream holiday company currently offering a completely all-inclusive portfolio’.

He continued: ‘People can leave their wallets at home and relax – they won’t have to worry about spending money when they’re abroad’.

Promising to continue to offer highly competitive prices, First Choice have said families can expect to save around £500 by going all-inclusive rather than just bed and breakfast.

Growth in the all-inclusive market has been huge, rising 32 per cent in the last five years, which has lead to this change.

All-inclusive deals currently being offered on the First Choice website for travel in April include seven nights in the Algarve from £264 and four nights in Cyprus from £323.