November 2016


Thomson offers it’s customers a new way to find holiday ideas by trialling a search tool using IBM’s Cloud  with cognitive intelligence.

In an industry first customers will be able to interact via a simple chat interface to get responses in real-time, resulting in helpful suggestions of great holiday destinations or exciting holiday experiences.

Thomson is trialling the new tool with customers following recent research showing 77% of people thought a virtual agent would be useful when searching for a holiday. The experimental service is in beta and will continue to be developed using customer feedback to improve responses. The tool enables a simple and personalised search using natural language, a very different way of finding the ideal holiday when compared to the usual checkbox and filtering of e-commerce sites.

The conversation tool, with added personality, is designed to make the search experience more enjoyable and easier for customers. The technology behind it is designed to learn from every customer interaction, to become smarter over time and provide ever more accurate responses.

Jeremy Osborne, Director of Strategic Innovation, TUI UK&I said; ‘We wanted to test whether a conversational search experience would resonate with our customers as a new, fun and easy way to find their ideal holiday. By leveraging IBM Cloud Technology with Watson’s cognitive intelligence, we are raising the bar in the travel industry. We are delivering an interactive service experiment to our customers that offers holiday inspiration ideas and personalised search results based on customer interests. We are excited to learn how customers react and interact, what they get out of the experience and how it compares to the current way of shortlisting holiday options.’

The news comes as Thomson announced earlier in the year plans to revolutionise the way they inspire customers to book holidays in store and online. By 2020 the holiday brand plans to phase out brochures, to provide a digital experience at every customer touch point and will be investing in more personalised, inspirational content for customers.

Helen Kelisky VP of Cloud, IBM UK and Ireland stated: “Cloud is the foundation for innovation. Thomson’s new interactive and conversational search tool is a prime example of how organisations can tap into the powerful infrastructure of IBM Cloud to build a customised user experience, which will continue to rapidly evolve with customer feedback and preferences.”




+44 1582 642100




Thomson, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is one of the UK’s most well-known holiday brands, delivering unique and modern holiday experiences for its customers every year.

Its flagship hotels fall under Sensatori – luxury holiday experience featuring world class spas and gourmet dining; Sensimar – offering stylish hotels in beach front locations exclusively for adults; and Family Life, which have been designed for families with younger children, featuring excellent kids’ clubs giving parents a care-free, relaxing holiday.

Thomson is the sister company of First Choice, both using Thomson Airways to take over 5.5 million people on holiday each year.

TUI UK and Ireland is a member of TUI Group.



TUI UK and Ireland is the UK’s largest tour operator with key brands including Thomson, First Choice, and Thomson Cruises. Sub brands include Sensatori, Sensimar, and Family Life, as well as First Choice Holiday Villages and SplashWorld Resorts.

TUI UK and Ireland’s airline, Thomson Airways is the UK’s third largest airline with 62 aircraft operating to over 88 destinations in 30 countries. Thomson Airways was the first airline in the UK to take delivery of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

TUI UK and Ireland has a team of more than 10,000 employees and serves over 5.5 million customers each year.

TUI UK and Ireland is a member of TUI Group.




For more information, visit:


Notes to editors:

The tool has voice input capability on Chrome and Firefox browsers at this stage.

*Research conducted by Discovery research based on 802 people via focus groups in August 2016

2 Downloadable Assets

Download Press Release Assets

Send this press release to your email.