Lunn Poly brand to vanish after more than a century

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The Independent Online

The German travel giant that bought Thomson Travel four years ago is casting aside more than a century of history and ditching the Lunn Poly holiday brand.

The German travel giant that bought Thomson Travel four years ago is casting aside more than a century of history and ditching the Lunn Poly holiday brand.

In a further sign of the mounting pressure on the traditional travel industry, TUI intends to focus its UK marketing muscle on its Thomson Holiday brand. The Lunn Poly moniker will vanish from almost 800 high street travel agents, which will be rebranded Thomson. The move follows TUI's recent decision to jettison its Britannia Airways brand in favour of Thomsonfly.

Peter Rothwell, who runs TUI's UK business, said: "Although Thomson is regarded as the most trusted brand in travel, we need to do all we can to keep public awareness ahead of our competitors, especially since so many new players have entered the UK market over the past few years. It makes much more sense from a marketing point of view to put money behind promoting a single brand."

TUI is likely to axe more of its 16 holiday brands in the UK, which span Magic Travel, Austravel, Portland and Crystal Ski. A spokeswoman said. "We are conducting a major review of the business. It may be that we don't keep all the brands."

Last month, TUI said it was cutting 800 jobs in the UK and scrapping holiday reps at some of its cheaper resorts. The cull will affect all parts of its business, from travel agents to its charter airline. It also axed five senior executive posts, in a desperate attempt to become more competitive.

Eventually, its network of 780 high street travel agents is likely to vanish, as more and more customers construct their own holiday packages via the internet. The group plans to trim its estate as shop leases expire, however, rather than through a major closure programme.

The group intends to rebrand the shops next month, finishing in time for the post-Christmas booking frenzy. It is also rebranding its websites, call centres and television channel.

Mr Rothwell added: "We want people to have a clear understanding that Thomson caters for all their travel needs, whether it's a one-way flight to Malaga or a five-star tailor-made trip to Australia."

The Lunn Poly name dates back to 1888 when Poly Tours was founded to provide cheap foreign holidays for students at London's Regent Street Polytechnic. Five years later, Sir Henry Lunn founded his tour company, which chartered the first holiday flight in 1931. The two groups merged in 1965 - the same year Thomson Holiday was created.

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