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Kuoni unveils bold new “travel design” store

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New-look store features 15 screens and social media updates

Tour operator Kuoni has revealed its new concept store, calling it the “boldest move” it has ever made in retail. There are no fixed desks and no brochure racking, with customers instead planning their holidays using tablets – although they will still be able to take brochures away.

The store, unveiled at the Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead, UK, will also feature a “world window” comprising 15 high-definition screens for video content and social media updates. Staff will have their own laptops and be able to share information between the two screens.

The Metrocentre branch will be followed by two more openings this year. Derek Jones, managing director of Kuoni in the UK, said the opening of the “evolution” store represented a significant step change.

“It’s certainly the boldest move we’ve made in the retail space,” he told TTG Digital. “A lot of people have talked about brochure-less stores […] and we’ve tried to do that, which is why we’ve called it a travel design room rather than an agency or a retail store.”

Kuoni has set itself apart in the travel retail space from competitors such as Thomas Cook and Tui. But in recent months both have opened new hi-tech “concept stores”. But Jones wanted to stress the difference between Kuoni and others.

“Our vision is to take this to the level where we’ve completely moved away from any conversation about channels or online versus offline. It’s all about how we manage all those channels seamlessly,” he said. “Our strategy is to encourage people to use online as a resource, but we believe that the way to get the right holiday for you is to then check in with an expert.”

In related news: UEFA and Kuoni have got the ball rolling for UEFA Euro 2016, launching a new website aimed at qualifying nations looking for the best accommodation training and facilities. Kuoni is the official UEFA Euro 2016 accommodation agency and the site lists 66 potential base camps in France, hotels, training grounds and professional sports facilities. Euro 2016 is scheduled to be held in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016.

TTG Digital / TravelMole

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