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Published on Friday, June 1, 2018

Seedy sex games, inferior events and charging over the odds

In light of the potential sale of Club 18-30, Barry Moore, co-founder of Party Hard Travel, shares his views on the future of travel for young people and says it's not about seedy games, nor egos.

"Club 18-30 has been one of the most successful brands in travel. They've got a huge history in the industry spanning 50 years. Yes, we have been aware that sales for Club 18-30 have been declining for the past few years but it was still surprising to hear the news about its potential sale, said to be down to the rise of ego travel. I wouldn't agree that young people are only into ego travel - youngsters just have increasing expectations from their holidays, like everyone else. Sure, they want to share their holiday experiences on social media, but that's not unique to young people. You'll be just as likely to have your social feed full of images of your mum on holiday as your mates.

The digital revolution changed everything about the travel industry, how we buy holidays, what motivates us, and our expectations. Young people know what good customer service is. They've been consumers since they were born, indirectly influencing over $130 billion in parental spend on things like holidays, so to try and fob them off with a lesser experience just won't work. They want the best events, proper customer service, and they want to be able to share their experience on social media - and I don't think that's about ego.

As a smaller operator, we're often in a better position to react to changes in the marketplace. With a larger brand, when you want to adapt your offering, you've got to get approval from maybe two to three levels up the chain. There will no doubt be opposition because it's different to what is currently being done and poses an element of risk. All I need to do at Party Hard Travel is call/speak to Nathan (co-founder Nathan Cable) and we can start implementing the change within the team straight away.

We're able to take larger risks because we specialise in party holidays. We know our customer because we are our customer. That was us at Portsmouth University wondering why we couldn't get the holiday experience that we wanted for a price that we felt was fair. Party Hard Travel was always about satisfying a real need for a specific target audience - young people. For larger operators, targeting the youth market might be a sideline to their main activity, and they also have to satisfy shareholders which can lead to a focus on short term profits. They constantly have to consider the parent brand and the potential impact to brand equity. As a result their strategy is often about meeting the needs of multiple audiences whilst targeting only one, a difficult thing to achieve.

Travel is such as competitive industry, and you have to move with the times with all market segments including the youth market. Seedy sex games, inferior events and charging over the odds isn't going to work with young travellers. They want to be at Together at Amnesia in Ibiza seeing Chase & Status, or at the BCL Festival on Poseidon Beach in Ayia Napa. And yes, they'll probably put in on Instagram. We're doing things differently and we're bringing in triple digit growth year on year. By 2020, our aim is to be the market leader, and we're bang on track to get there."


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