TUI is one of the world’s leading tourism groups with a portfolio of 400 hotels, 15 cruise liners, and five airlines with 100 aircraft. Its tours and activities subsidiary, TUI Musement, offers over 215,000 local travel experiences in more than 140 countries.
Digital Transformation for the Unpredictability of Travel
In 2019, TUI sold over 31 million “transfers,” transporting more than 14 million customers between airports, hotels, cruise ports, and points of interest. Its global transfer operations platform automatically generated daily schedules for over 100 destinations.
However, assigning each guest to a vehicle and each vehicle to a route required manual steps. And travel doesn’t always go as planned. Flight delays, missed baggage, cancellations, traffic, and hotel changes caused significant challenges to TUI teams and manual updates to their plans. TUI’s unwavering efforts to accommodate changes was time-consuming and costly. Missed transfers would not meet the company’s high standards for guest experience.
TUI needed to replace its day-ahead planning processes with a solution that could a) respond in real time to changing conditions, and b) update the transfer plan in accordance with TUI’s customer service expectations and operational requirements. With a more dynamic plan, TUI could improve the guest experience while reducing operational costs and minimizing CO2 emissions.
So, TUI searched for a partner with deep expertise in operations research, fleet planning, and adaptive network optimization. This partner also needed to be capable of serving large enterprises with complex operational and IT ecosystems. Thanks to an introduction by Amazon Web Services (AWS), TUI and Mobi connected in 2020.
Apply Mobi Fleet Manager to Continuous Transfer Planning
Mobi embedded with TUI to understand the ins and outs of transfers at a destination level. Based on TUI’s unique requirements, Mobi customized its Fleet Manager product to optimize transfers between airports, cruise ports, hotels, and points of interest. When complete, this solution will source real-time data for flights, hotels, excursions, and vehicle inventory – the key variables that influence transfer plans. Mobi also built a driver app to distribute the plan, route drivers between stops, and monitor their progress.
- Initial plan: TUI streams bookings to Mobi Fleet Manager, which generates the optimal transfer plan in seconds and distributes it to TUI guests and drivers via mobile apps. The plan accounts for local conditions like elevation changes and winding roads to estimate transfer times accurately.
- Automatic updates: If a disruption occurs more than 24 hours before the transfer, Mobi Fleet Manager dynamically updates the transfer plan to accommodate guests while still optimizing for efficiency.
- Day-of replanning: If a disruption occurs less than 24 hours before the transfer, Mobi’s dashboard alerts TUI’s operations team. They can select the best alternative and distribute the new plan through the guest and driver apps or via TUI staff on the ground. With the plan on mobile apps instead of PDFs, staff can make last-minute changes from a tablet.
- Real-time schedule: Guests see which vehicle they're taking, where to meet it, and when. Drivers see their pickup and drop off points, arrival times, passenger lists, and turn-by-turn directions.
All Mobi solutions run on AWS. Mobi Fleet Manager uses Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances to dynamically scale up or down depending on user demand. Further, each core microservice runs in containers provisioned by Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Services (Amazon EKS). To ensure Fleet Manager is always providing the best solutions with the most up to date information, near real-time data feeds are maintained with TUI via Amazon Kinesis and are stored in Amazon Aurora. All core data required for Fleet Manager to operate, such as roadways and maps, are stored in Amazon Simple Cloud Service (S3).
We searched several different verticals including travel, logistics, and smart cities to find a company that could modernize our platform to provide real-time information to our guests and staff. Mobi stood out with the quality of their technology, their expertise with complex planning, and their rapid understanding of the problem we were trying to solve.
Scale a Better Guest Experience
Mobi Fleet Manager was ready for deployment in summer of 2021, just five months after TUI greenlighted the project. Because both companies operate on AWS, the integration was fast, secure, and robust. TUI and Mobi decided to pilot the solution at an island destination.
Fleet Manager demonstrated its ability to dynamically replan transfers within seconds, enabling TUI to be flexible and accommodating. Importantly, the solution kept human staff in the loop. TUI operators made the call on last-minute changes, balancing efficiency with empathy for guests. In the future, TUI and Mobi will test and optimize Fleet Manager’s impact on operational efficiency and CO2 emissions.
Based on the results, TUI has decided to roll out Fleet Manager for more destinations and transfer scenarios. Eventually, TUI and Mobi will allow the solution to replan transfers within the 24-hour window, automating the last manual step. Together, TUI and Mobi will strive to make transfers more efficient, more sustainable, and more responsive to guests’ needs.
With our old platform, our teams had to change transfer plans manually. Adding a few travelers who arrived later than planned is simple in principle, but with tens-of-thousands of guests moving on busy days, the knock-on effects can be large. Mobi addressed this challenge by giving us a dynamic plan based on things we may not yet have noticed, like flight delays, optimizing our operation and the experience for our guests. We are really excited to roll out this service.