TUI UK & Ireland Grows Online Revenues with Taggstar Social Proof

Thomson.co.uk, Falcon Holidays and First Choice Brands Track Extra Sales

The Challenge

TUI UK and Ireland, part of TUI Group, is the business behind the TUI, First Choice and Marella Cruises brands, as well as Crystal Ski Holidays and TUI Lakes & Mountains. Sub brands include TUI Sensatori, TUI Family Life, TUI Seminar, First Choice Holiday Villages and SplashWorld Resorts.

Its airline, TUI Airways - formerly Thomson Airways - has 64 aircraft operating to over 70 destinations in 30 countries. It was the first airline in the UK to take deliver of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and in 2018 will welcome new 737 MAXs to its fleet.

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

Competition is always fierce and there's a drive to recreate a similar experience to booking through a high street travel agent. In these market conditions, the challenge for TUI is to give its online customers confidence in its destinations and venues, doing so by adopting sophisticated digital tools - including social proof messaging - to optimise website conversion and overall spend.

In a competitive travel market, it's important that customers are confidence that they've made the right decision across every element of their holidays to avoid disappointment and post-holiday complaints. It's normal for travellers to take their time making a decision. Annual holidays are a big ticket item and no one wants to make a mistake with the most important fortnight of the year and, for some, their only overseas break.

Insight shows that browsers can visit a holiday site as many as nine or more times before choosing. This can create a gulf of days or weeks between holiday research and the moment that they finally click 'buy.' It's fair to say that we are emotionally-involved with our holiday time.

THE Solution

The digital customer experience has become more important at each stage of the holiday buying process, from inspiration through to experience review. An early adopter in the online travel industry, and already using a number of software tools to boost sales, TUI was considering using the wisdom of the crowd - specifically social proof messaging - to help drive conversion rate increases.

TUI wanted to work with a social proof specialist that could put a software tool in place quickly and allow it to make a positive difference to its sales targets. It was important to work with a partner with dedicated social proof expertise that could deliver in time for the annual holiday industry January rush.

TUI's web product team tuned to Taggstar to supply real-time social proof messaging across the three brands in November 2015. The team specifically responsible for the web booking journey and also manages a number of other conversion optimisation tools. By mid December, the software was live and influencing an upward sales trend by mid December 2015.

TUI has complete control of the look and feel of the messages, with the ability to choose placement on page, colour and font. Taggstar supports the deployment with five years' of social proof messaging expertise, a message experimentation of new message types, and with professional services to further extend the messaging through the online customer journey.

Taggstar messages initially launched on all-inclusive package holiday provider First Choice, showing detail important to the product on every single holiday package over the peak holiday booking period. The site showed popularity and scarcity messages such as "100 people have looked at this hotel in the last hour" and "70+ people booked this in the last seven days" to reassure customers that they were choosing a popular destination that would meet their expectations.

The First Choice trial ran for three months, and delivered eight million messages about destinations and venues, across all devices. First results were outstanding.

Results & Outcomes

The success of the initial Taggstar trial on First Choice convinced TUI to extend the product across the Thomson.co.uk and Falcon Holiday sites - both now TUI - in early 2016.

Results showed extra sales linked directly to using Taggstar, with a peak conversion rate uplift during January 2016, again attached to using real-time social proof messages.

TUI has now used Taggstar constantly for more than two years. Message volumes continue to grow in step with site traffic, and it's estimated that the three sites will show close to 300 million messages in 2018.

In January 2018 alone, Taggstar delivered over 29 million messages - up over 200% from December 2017 - showing the software's ability to scale in line with customer demand.

TUI and Taggstar continue to A/B test new messages, and have a roadmap in place to further increase eCommerce conversions.


Taggstar works with the largest eCommerce brands. To try social proof on your website, get in touch.