Technology plays a pivotal role in defining the future for leading travel industry player TUI. The holiday giant has changed how it operates and runs its technology. One major step in this transformation was to develop from a regionally based IT organisation into one global domain organisation.
Travel industry transformation
Kristof Caekebeke, CIO for Product and Engagement, is a member of the leadership team that is driving the transformation of the TUI technical ecosystem which has seen Master Domain Owners taking different blocks of the ecosystem under their control to roll out across the organisation.
Responsible for product and engagement, Caekebeke’s focus is on building products out of the thousands of hotels, flights, experiences and cruises TUI is offering and on how the travel company offers them to its customers. “I’m responsible for every contact point between the customer and TUI. The websites, the mobile apps, the retail systems – any contact point we have between the customer and TUI. It’s a large team of 1,100 tech people.
Since 2020, TUI has focused on the flexibility of its offering allowing customers to take control. “Customers also want flexibility in the way they create their holiday packages,” adds Caekebeke.
“Instead of the traditional package of flight, transfer and hotel, we want to be more dynamic and cut it up in components. People still have money for their holiday, but maybe they want to cut it down by one night because they want it to fit in with their budget. Or they want to come to us on multiple occasions, and fill a basket with a flight for themselves, a concert ticket for a friend. From a business perspective, customers expect us to offer this kind of flexibility.”
TUI Technology Ecosystem
“People might not appreciate how tech-focused a company like TUI actually is,” offers Caekebeke. “We employ 2,500 IT staff in total – it’s a complex environment, but it’s a technology fun environment because we have amazing opportunities to try new things and test different approaches. The goal is the same. We want to work towards one landscape of technical systems and technologies for all markets. The whole architecture is one big box of Lego, and all these different services are providing you with lego blocks. It’s up to us to decide what we want to build… For example, we might want to build a site for cruises that would require connections to sourcing and ancillary services like attractions or car rentals at each port of call. Obviously, that needs to be flexible for each country to work outside a monolithic system.”
TUI is operating a common ecosystem consisting of newly developed technologies and legacy systems. “We have many small components, both old and new, hooked up to each other,” explains Caekebeke. “Our focus today is on bringing all our products to all channels in all markets. To be fast, we combine old and now. But at the same time, we are working towards one common ecosystem across all markets.”