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The Emotional Punch of Real Experiences

Dr. Fabian Stich, CEO Jochen Schweizer mydays Holding GmbH

When it brought mydays and Jochen Schweizer together, ProSiebenSat.1 married the two leading experience providers in the German-speaking world. The two brands now operate on an equal footing and in a complementary way under the umbrella of Jochen Schweizer mydays Holding GmbH. In our interview, Jochen Schweizer, Dr. Fabian Stich and Jörg Trouvain discuss why ProSiebenSat.1 is the ideal owner of this company, the potential they see in the partnership and why “experience” as a business model has a big future ahead.
Jochen Schweizer, Founder of Jochen Schweizer GmbH
Jochen Schweizer is a former stuntman, extreme kayaker, skydiver and the entrepreneur behind several successful businesses. He is also a bestselling author and motivational speaker. Over seven out of ten Germans between the ages of 20 and 59 are familiar with the Jochen Schweizer name. As far back as 1989, he opened the first stationary bungee jumping facility in Germany and subsequently set up numerous companies. In 2004, Schweizer started selling experience vouchers online.
What makes the experience providers mydays and Jochen Schweizer such a perfect match for each other – and for ProSiebenSat.1?

Trouvain: Jochen Schweizer and mydays are both leading experience providers, yet they complement each other beautifully. Each brand has its own focus. With its “Time together” slogan, mydays is somewhat more feminine and focuses on giving presents. Jochen Schweizer, with “You are what you experience,” takes a more masculine, action-based approach. By acquiring the Jochen Schweizer experience brand, we have now united the two top players at ProSiebenSat.1. This has generated a wealth of synergies for us. We can push these emotional brands with TV advertising and increase their recognition, thereby boosting revenues. Other benefits include the ability to negotiate better terms with other experience providers and share various back-office functions. This acquisition more than met our investment criteria (see below).

Stich: With mydays, we have already delivered impressive proof that ProSiebenSat.1’s TV muscle can give a brand a tremendous push. Our brand awareness has increased significantly since the company joined ProSiebenSat.1. In addition, the Group has its own commerce business in the NuCom Group. We derive substantial benefits from our exchange with the other portfolio companies, be it with SEO issues, online marketing or optimizing internal processes. Every company has specialists whose expertise we harness to support one another.

Jörg Trouvain, Managing Director NCG - NuCom Group
As the Managing Director of the NuCom Group, Jörg Trouvain not only oversees the mydays and Jochen Schweizer investments but also serves on the billiger-mietwagen.de management. In the past, he successfully expanded the ProSiebenSat.1 travel segment. During his time at games provider Activision Blizzard, Trouvain was involved in brand integrations similar to the mydays and Jochen Schweizer project.
»ProSiebenSat.1’s TV muscle can give a brand a tremendous push.«
Sounds like a dream team.

Trouvain: Definitely. For as long as I’ve been at ProSiebenSat.1, we have always had our eye on Jochen Schweizer GmbH. And now it finally happened.

Schweizer: The opposite was also true: We were always positive that the brands were a perfect match and would have liked to acquire mydays back in the day. Then ProSiebenSat.1 bought mydays in 2013. And now that we’re joining up under one roof, the above mentioned synergies are being created automatically. We can pool our expertise in purchasing from experience providers, for example, and combine central functions such as accounting, HR, financial control and IT.

Stich: We were sporting but fair rivals who always kept a close watch on one another’s activities. Now we can focus on the shared opportunities waiting for us in the market. And they are substantial.

Dr. Fabian Stich, CEO Jochen Schweizer mydays Holding GmbH
As CEO of Jochen Schweizer mydays Holding GmbH, Fabian Stich is responsible for strategy and operational business at the biggest experience provider in the German-speaking region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). The self-confessed speed junkie hopes to live out his personal dream experience as soon as possible – flying a jet himself.
Can you give us an example?

Stich: Omnichannel and physical products are strategically a must for both brands. We see a lot of growth potential here, especially in the gift segment.

Schweizer: What that means specifically is that when someone gives a tandem parachute jump as a gift voucher, you could offer them a backpack with a skydiving design to go with it. You would have to print “This is not a parachute” on it, of course, to be on the safe side (laughs).

Mr. Schweizer, you are an entrepreneur through and through. What made you give up all but a minority stake in your experience business?

Schweizer: My goal was always to make this enterprise the market leader in terms of revenue, profitability and brand recognition while generating an enterprise value of at least EUR 100 million. My plan was to then spin the company off from the Jochen Schweizer Group and put it in good hands for onward growth. I achieved all of that. At the same time, I reinvested EUR 17 million in Jochen Schweizer mydays Holding. That shows that I firmly believe in the joint company’s potential. For the employees and for me as an investor, this arrangement made much more sense than going public or selling to a financial investor – even if that might have been more lucrative.

»We were always positive that the brands were a perfect match.«
How will you move forward with integrating the brands from here?

Trouvain: We’ve made a conscious decision to continue the two brands with different positionings – even going as far as letting them compete against one another. Our business based on experiences opens up a variety of avenues for growth. At mydays, for instance, we want to expand our gift portfolio in order to increase customers’ purchasing frequency. Plus, we intend to complement our offerings with round-trip travel arrangements and overnight accommodation so that we can sell all-in travel experiences. What’s more, we can use customer data to home in more selectively in terms of customer relationship management.

Stich: Our shared ambition is to become Europe’s market leader in experiences. We have already achieved that in the German-speaking countries. Both mydays and Jochen Schweizer are already active there as omnichannel brands. In other words, customers can book our offerings either online or in stores. Both brands have partnerships with retailers such as Depot and Rewe. On top of that, Jochen Schweizer has its own outlets in malls. This provides a solid launch pad for dynamic and profitable annual growth as well as for the move into international markets.

What sets the two brands apart?

Schweizer: Both brands have distinctive identities. Brands are like lighthouses – the more clear-cut their beam, the easier it is to get your bearings.

Stich: mydays appeals to people who want to spend quality time with friends or family and do this by booking a shared experience. This is why mydays experiences are often given as gifts. With Jochen Schweizer, however, it’s more about the experience itself. While it’s great to have friends along, that’s not absolutely necessary.

»We’ve made a conscious decision to continue the two brands with different positionings – even going as far as letting them compete against one another.«
Have you ever booked an experience with your counterpart brand?

Stich: Yes! Many years ago, I was given a Jochen Schweizer-brand tandem skydiving experience by my colleagues. It was unforgettable. When I meet up with coworkers from back then, we still talk about it to this day.

Trouvain: I once went on a Jochen Schweizer indoor skydiving experience in a wind tunnel. It was truly thrilling. I definitely want to go again. Ever since I started using one of the shots as my WhatsApp profile picture, people are always asking me about it.

Schweizer: These anecdotes are testimony to the fact that experiences are the more enduring gifts. Real experiences serve an important social function at a time when people are struggling noticeably to differentiate between fiction and reality. Authentic experiences make you much more aware of yourself. That’s why I see mydays and Jochen Schweizer as sources of inspiration: We help people get to know themselves better and sometimes even do things they never thought they could. It’s for this reason that my personal social network isn’t Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it’s called “outdoors.”

Stich: Many people already own everything they need, not to mention a whole lot of stuff that they don’t. So we should rather collect memories and bestow them as gifts instead of just material things. Jochen Schweizer and mydays can help with that!