What happens when a legacy tour operator, Germany-based TUI Group, acquires a Milan-based tours and activities startup, Musement, and tries to get digital street cred in growing the business?
The result is TUI Musement, which rebranded from TUI Destinations in September, and has become an important if unheralded European player in tours and activities, although not necessarily a thorn in the side for well-funded European market leader GetYourGuide.
Acquired by TUI in September 2018, Musement the next year drove TUI’s euro 1.23 billion (about USD 1.48 billion) in annual gross turnover in tours and activities. That was a 105% jump from the previous year when Musement was still independent.
Perhaps the only tours and activities business to disclose its financials, TUI Musement made euro 56 million (USD 67.3 million) in earnings before interest and taxes in 2019, a 21.7% jump over the previous year. Like everyone else’s business in pandemic-strewn 2020, the pre-pandemic 2019 numbers are probably the most relevant.
“While GetYourGuide dominates many of the headlines with its impressive fundraising and growth, Musement has become an important player across the industry,” said Arival co-founder and CEO Douglas Quinby, referring to Europe. “Whereas innovative startups often suffer when acquired by large, bureaucratic organizations, TUI and Musement have defied the odds and the skeptics by embracing and driving digital transformation within the TUI Destination Experiences division.”
With current strength in Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, followed by the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, TUI would probably eye acquisitions in Europe and the Americas to grow its base, and then consider expansion in other regions.
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