Shopping is no longer just about buying. Oh, no. It’s about experiencing. And that’s exactly what our new Holiday Design Store in Bluewater Shopping Centre – fresh from its grand opening on Wednesday – has on the menu. So, faster than you can say, “54 shopping days until Christmas” I dashed over to Kent’s super-mall to find out what sets our next-generation shop apart from the crowd. Come on in and I’ll show you around…
Introducing Thomson’s Holiday Design Store
Even from the outside, our Holiday Design Store stops you in your tracks. Posing as a half-term shopper in Bluewater’s Upper Thames Walk, I watched the reactions of passers-by. The colossal video wall proved to be a big hit – in fact, as Sensatori Tenerife materialised on the screen, I heard one lady saying, “I need to go there. I don’t care where it is, but I need to go.” It aims to inspire, so I think it’s fair to say it’s doing its job.
As for the kids walking past, they were won over by the 8-foot ice creams. I don’t blame them.
As you walk into the shop entrance you’re immediately struck by a wafting aroma of suntan lotion. As someone who’s been known to slather it on during winter months because I love the smell so much – yes, really – that was a winning touch for me. The entrance is wide and welcoming, giving you a good feel for what you’re going to experience from the parade of shops outside. And who can resist the smiley faces that greet you…
Okay, so the lovely staff members aren’t always lined up like that – they couldn’t resist saying a quick ‘cheese’ to celebrate their first day open to the public – but they are always that friendly. And polished, for that matter.
On to my favourite part of the store. The interactive map and table. These innovative features are all about bringing your holiday to life. Our selection of brochures do a great job in showing holidaymakers exactly what we offer, but these nifty touch-screens takes it to another level. You can search a giant map of the world, narrow down your holiday hunt with easy-to-use filters, and browse through stunning pictures of pools and bedrooms that you may end up seeing first-hand.
As you can see, some of our younger clientele wanted to pick out holidays of their own.
Time to chill out by the pool. This area allows you to browse on your own devices (Bluewater has free Wi-Fi you can connect to, so logging on is a breeze) and have a chat to staff if you have any questions. No swimwear required.
There’s a very relaxed feel to it, thanks to the Café Del Mar-style tracks playing in the store, and features like this comfy lilo. It’s the perfect place to book a cruise, as these ladies discovered…
While you’re dipping your toes in the pool, you’ll be entertained by the 75-inch high definition community screen, which runs a loop of live weather and social media feeds – I watched my tweet appear just minutes after I’d typed it in – plus handy tips, destination videos to help inspire you, and lots of fun stats and quizzes.
Next on our tour is the does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin Advice Bar. Want to talk to a member of staff to pick their brains on all things Thomson? Then this is the place for you. There are computers set up so you can find out what you can expect from your holiday before you book, and holiday brochures behind the bar should you prefer to flick rather than click.
Finally, you can huddle into our booths, surrounded by huge projection walls that show off all the different types of holiday we offer – from beaches and infinity pools, to ski slopes and safaris. It’s all about getting into the holiday spirit.
Oh, and not forgetting the all-important foreign currency bureau at the back of the shop, where you can pick up your Jamaican dollars in a jiffy.
So, there you have it. I had a great time perusing and playing with all the interactive technology in our Bluewater store. Although the shop has an undeniably modern feel, at the heart of it is still the friendly, expert approach our customers expect.
Pay a visit to Thomson’s new Holiday Design Store and I guarantee that booking a holiday won’t just be something to tick off your shopping list. It’ll be an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
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Author: El Berwick
Published: November 1, 2013
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