TUI UK & Ireland has appointed its first head of innovation as it looks to further digitise the business.
Jo Hickson, who joined from Home Retail Group where she spent five years as group head of innovation, will be focused on driving customer focused innovations across TUI UK & Ireland.
In her new role, Hickson will report to Jeremy Osborne, director of strategic business change and innovation.
A key part of the role is to run the newly created TUI Holiday Lab, the company’s centre of innovation and collaboration.
The Lab is also currently recruiting an additional member, as it looks to add a creative technologist with user experience and user interface capabilities to its already entrepreneurially-minded and broad-skilled team.
Launched in March this year, the TUI Holiday Lab is designed to explore and develop new and emerging technologies, and deliver forward-thinking products that will enhance the holiday experience for customers.
Since launching the team has introduced the Thomson Apple TV app, which contains videos of the holiday company’s destinations, including Costa Rica and Iceland, and products such as its Sensatori resorts.
TUI UK & Ireland was the first UK travel brand to have a presence in the TV app store, and the first travel brand in the world to have an app based on video content.
Leading the innovation team, Hickson will focus on anticipating the next advances in technology and customer behaviour, scanning the horizon for future disruptive trends and innovation opportunities – including natural language processing and virtual reality – and using this to feed a pipeline of innovation projects.
Osborne said: “The TUI Holiday Lab allows us to take new ideas through to delivery quicker than ever before.
“With the creation of this new role, we now have a strong team working together to anticipate our customers’ future needs and create innovative solutions.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to set the vision and agenda for innovation at TUI UK, and I’m delighted to be working with Jo and the rest of the team to create genuine business change to benefit our customers.”