“Despite the challenging environment in 2019 to date, our underlying business remains robust, and we expect to deliver a solid performance in 2019, which, however, will not match the prior year’s result, as expected due to the grounding of the 737 MAX. Hotels & Resorts will benefit from our diversified portfolio and Cruises will deliver strong growth. We have significantly reduced our dependence on traditional tour operators over the past five years. The transformation of our Group will continue. The tour operator businesses in our European markets will be brought together faster and more effectively. We are consistently pursuing our digital transformation to develop TUI into a global platform organisation. The strength of our globally unified brand and direct access to our customer base, already comprising more than 21 million customers, offers great potential for the future,” said TUI CEO Fritz Joussen at the presentation of the Q3 2019 results.
Despite the current challenges and volatility in the tour operating business, TUI remains in very good shape. The Group is an international market leader and well positioned for a potential market consolidation in the industry. After the transformation of the Group initiated in 2013, the Markets & Airlines segment (Tour Operators) accounted for 30 per cent of TUI’s earnings, while 70 per cent of earnings are delivered by Holiday Experiences (Hotels, Cruises, Destination Experiences). Traditional tour operators ensure direct access to customers in our European source markets. “We will continue to strengthen our competitiveness in this area, too, by harmonising our tour operation business, accelerating its transformation and thus increasing its efficiency and profitability,” said Joussen. Within the next 18 to 24 months, the European source markets will be more closely aligned. At the same time, TUI is driving the digitalisation of the Group further ahead and is investing in state-of-the-art technologies and a unified customer platform (CRM). TUI has entered the next phase of its transformation to develop into a global platform company. Driven by the acquisition of the Italian technology platform Musement, the tours and activities business in the destinations will be significantly expanded. In March 2019, TUI and Ctrip had concluded a significant cooperation scheme. The around 200 million users of the leading Chinese online travel agency will have direct access to the portfolio of tours and activities offered by Musement. The Group will also accelerate its “TUI 2022” strategy programme. Due to the global expansion of the TUI brand, TUI will tap new markets, in particular in emerging economies with growing middle classes such as China, India, Brazil and Malaysia. A further partnership was recently concluded in South East Asia: TUI will team up with Malaysia Airlines to establish its Malaysia Airlines Holidays business. TUI will tap these future markets through a fully digital approach via an innovative and globally scaling distribution and marketing platform, which forms the basis of TUI’s state-of-the-art IT infrastructure.
Hotels & Resorts delivered a significant increase in its operating result in Q3 2019. While average occupancy remained high at 80 per cent, average revenue per bed rose, driven partly by the shift in demand from the Western to the Eastern Mediterranean. In the quarter, TUI opened new hotels in the Caribbean, Italy, Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, the Maldives and Bulgaria. Since the merger, its portfolio has grown by 67 new hotels.
· Underlying EBITA: +26.4 per cent to 91.5 million euros (previous year: 72.4 million euros)
· Underlying EBITA at constant currency: +12.2 per cent to 90.0 million euros (previous year: 72.4 million euros)
· Average revenue per bed: +5.4 per cent to 60 euros
· Average occupancy: -0.4 percentage points to 79.8 per cent
In Q3 2019, all three cruise brands operated by the Group continued their growth roadmap and delivered a significant increase in their operating results. With the launch of HANSEATIC nature and Marella Explorer 2 in May 2019, TUI’s cruises fleet grew to a total of 17 ships.
· Underlying EBITA: +14.4 per cent to 101.5 million euros / previous year 88.7 million euros
· Underlying EBITA at constant currency: +14.5 per cent to 101.6 million euros / previous year 88.7 million euros
· Average occupancy:
o TUI Cruises: 99.5 per cent (previous year 98.8 per cent)
o Marella Cruises: 98.5 per cent (previous year 100.3 per cent)
o Hapag-Lloyd Cruises: 74.7 per cent (75.6 per cent)
The TUI Destination Experiences segment (tours and activities in the destinations) is a growth area and has been strategically expanded since 2018 through a range of measures including the acquisition of Musement and Destination Management. In the period under review, the number of excursions and activities sold almost doubled to 2.3 million (+92 per cent). Due to the costs for the integration of Musement, underlying EBITA declined year-on-year. Excluding these integration costs, underlying EBITA grew by 3 per cent year-on-year.
· Underlying EBITA: -12.1 per cent to 15.3 million euros (previous year 17.4 million euros)
Although the market environment remained very challenging, the Group’s Markets (tour operators) & Airlines business delivered an increase in customer numbers to 6.028 million (previous year 6.024 million). At 4.0 billion euros, turnover also grew cent year-on-year, up by 0.4 per cent (3.99 billion euros).
· Underlying EBITA: -103.9 million euros (previous year: +37.2 million euros)
Bookings for the current Summer 2019 (as at 4 August 2019) are down 1 per cent year-on-year, improving from the booking performance delivered in the first half of 2019 (-3 per cent). Average prices are up by one per cent and we expect the recent positive trend to continue as we lap the extended heatwave in the prior year.