David Garcia, CIO for TUI Musement, on the digital evolution driving the travel giant’s provision of experiences, transfers and tours as part of its operational shift from local to global

“When we are talking about digital transformation, many people think that everything relies on technology. However, I think there’s something even more important than that. People.” Garcia is passionate about promoting a people culture to drive TUI’s global technology mission and help TUI Musement embrace and deliver on TUI’s vision – excellence in leisure experiences.

Technology delivering experiences, transfers and tours

TUI Musement is a global Tours & Activities business that combines scalable digital platforms with personalised in-destination service by local teams, to deliver products in three main business lines:

  • Experiences: Excursions, activities & attraction tickets
  • Transfers: Between airports, hotels and ports
  • Tours: Multi-day itineraries encompassing flights, hotels, experiences and transfers

For customers to enjoy TUI’s extensive portfolio of experiences and multi-day itinerary tours, transfers bring everything together. A combination of TUI-owned transport fleets and partnerships with third party providers supports millions of customers every year.

“We sold a total of 24m transfer places in FY22,” notes Garcia. “And of those approximately 5.5m were scheduled by ERMES, our AI powered transfer scheduling platform. From October ‘22-March ‘23, TUI Musement has operated transfers to the equivalent of 8.4m transfer places, the majority of which were scheduled by ERMES. As confirmed by TUI Group CEO, Sebastian Ebel, customer numbers this summer are set to be similar to FY19, so by the end of FY23 we should expect ERMES to have scheduled over 20m transfer places.”

Partnering with Mobi

“Three years ago, we focused on how we could better shape operational transport. Indeed, we had to break the mould from a digital technology perspective,” recalls Garcia. “Moreover, it’s a story of successful co-creation through our partnership with TakeMobi.” A US start-up that began life in the labs of MIT, the team at Mobi brought their data handling skills to bear on TUI’s problem. Mobi developed algorithms for route optimisation in real time based on event-driven architecture and microservices with everything cloud native.

“The technology we have developed is remarkable,” says a proud Garcia. “Today, 85% of all of our transfers across the globe are using this new operational platform. Furthermore, ERMES, with Mobi as the technology behind it, is delivering smooth route planning. Additionally, we are also reducing the time from the airport to the hotel and the hotel to excursions.”

The efficient path to success

The successful launch of TUIexperiences.com, the delivery of the Porta API and the ongoing roll out of ERMES is allowing TUI to naviage the globe with its offering. “We’re aiming to be really efficient,” says Garcia. “Then at the end of the day, when we are talking about the digital space, we are talking about cloud and so many different technologies…”

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