GetYourGuide Targets European Growth; Adds China Expert to Board

By David Knight |

GetYourGuide, a platform for tours and activities for holiday-makers, is expanding into France, Italy and Spain with localised sites as it pursues a policy of aggressive expansion in Europe. Based in Zurich but with a significant presence in Berlin, the startup closed a $14 million Series A round last month, and is following up on a promise to use those fund to accelerate growth.

In addition, Fritz Demopoulos, the force behind China’s largest travel portal Qunar, has joined the GetYourGuide board of directors to help drive its international presence.

GetYourGuide enables tourists to book tours, attraction and activities, and claims to be the largest such platform in the world. Users can currently book 18,100 things to do in more than 1,780 places, and now they can also do so in French, Italian, and Spanish. The company aims to build up similar userbases to those in its existing core markets of Germany and the UK as it seeks to strengthen its dominate position in Europe.

With a global market size of $100 billion, the travel activities space is twice as large as the car rental and cruise industries combined, according to a 2011 report from travel research firm PhocusWright. In addition to the booking platform, GetYourGuide also has distribution partnerships with more than 1,000 online travel agencies, travel operators and media companies, including TripAdvisor and Opodo.

The appointment of Fritz Demopoulos to the board is designed to add some valuable experience to the company’s efforts. The sale of Qunar was one of the largest deals ever in China’s media and Internet sectors. He said: “I truly believe in the strength and the success of the business plan that GetYourGuide has built up in a short amount of time. … I’ll be supporting the team in growing GetYourGuide’s position in the worldwide travel industry and to take the company’s successful business strategy to new markets.”

GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck said: “Working with Fritz Demopoulos will help us to cement our leading position in Europe and accelerate growth into new international markets.”

The Swiss company‘s Series A – an impressive amount for a European startup – was announced in January and was led by Spark Capital and Highland Capital Partners Europe. Launched in 2010, the platform also has an office in Las Vegas.