A Glimpse Into the Future of Digital Travel

Just over seven months ago, tired of travelling into London every day, paying for the privilege of standing on a crowded train and having to spend a small fortune the process, I decided to look for a new role closer to home. I happened to find out that a travel company was seeking to build up their DevOps competency and as it was based in Luton, within commutable distance from my home I decided to apply.
To be honest, I had never actually heard of TUI before, being more acquainted with the travel brand Thomson. The day of my interview, I was interviewed by a Director in the IT department who would later end up being my boss. What was great is that he seemed to know his stuff and I immediately knew we would work well together.

His animated passion about the role, culture and brand of the company made me know I wanted to work here. This was going to be a very exciting time to join as the company was taking its first tentative steps into its new digital future.

Also on the day of my interview, I was invited to stay for one of TUI’s monthly Town Hall meetings. TUI’s Town Hall events are where Board Level Members of the company meet and talk face to face with the whole business (think several thousand employees being briefed on business strategy and vision).

Having just completed my technical interview, I found myself standing among hundreds of smiling colleagues, being kept informed on the years trading, future and opportunities to add value. During the event, Nick Longman the MD of TUI UK&I thanked the IT team twice for their efforts and dedication to the business, so I got to glimpse a company that values its IT people and holds them accountable for ensuring IT is providing the right environment to enable future growth.

Working in TUI has been very exciting so far, every day I travel and meet with many amazing colleagues all around the world (TUI has over 77,000 employees).  We not only sell package holidays but as part of the TUI Group, also own and operate our own Airlines, Cruise liners and many beautiful resorts all over the globe.

Only three months into my new role and the entire IT Team were taken away to Ibiza for our yearly IT conference. It was an excellent experience and opportunity to get to know the fantastic team within TUI and see the end results of all our efforts.

Speaking of colleagues, as I have said to many new starters that have since joined the team, what I value most about our business is the people who work here. People who all work hard, where nobody gets to slack off, where there is frenetic activity and change everywhere. TUI is also a place where you do not see anybody stressed or getting upset, with good humour and support, all the teams work together to make the magic work.

Within TUI, technology is quickly evolving; we are now starting to explore DevOps, Cloud and de-coupling many of our technology platforms. And the scale of this challenge is definitely on the enterprise level. Our challenge is enormous, but we have many key vendors and partners helping us to shape this future. This pace of change is also beginning to lead to an environment where your skills are appreciated. You not only get to work on cool new technologies, but also get to stretch your abilities and never get bored.

Expect to be learning something new every day.

As TUI begins to explore how to leverage Cloud technologies (AWS is our chosen platform) many colleagues and teams within IT are being taken through a structured planning and training process to gain these new skills. We are also always on the lookout to bolster our technical ability with new people who can bring their skillsets from other progressive enterprise organisations to enable us to accelerate this journey.

For now, the future looks promising, what is clear is that there is plenty of scope to change and mould the identity of one of the world’s largest integrated travel companies. What I look forward to saying one day is, yes I was part of that team that drove our business into the new digital era.

 

 

 

 

Clinton Elston
GM DevOps and Continuous Delivery

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