The holiday and events business entertained 10,000 young people last summer in destinations like Ibiza, Kavos and Aiya Napa - whoop!
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Barry Moore and Nathan Cable (pictured above), co-founders of Party Hard Travel, found a niche for good-value holidays for the under-30 market, with parties thrown in for good measure. The business has grown 1,200% in two years; here's how.
1. What's the business in a nutshell?
Nathan: We strive to give all of our guests the best week of their lives. We do this by offering party holiday packages to the hottest party resorts in Europe. Our main USP is that we include our Party Hard event packages free with every holiday, meaning our guests have access to the top parties and events throughout their holiday.
Party Hard Travel aims to provide guests with the ‘best week of their lives’. Incorporating the biggest events and parties free with every holiday package combined with an innovative approach to customer service, we are the fastest growing business in the sector.
All holidays are fully ATOL and TTA protected, providing 100% financial protection to our guests. With strategic partnerships with the likes of Love Island, boohoo and Unidays combined with the launch of a UK club tour and a range of own-brand events, we're on course to meet our target to become market leader in party travel by 2020.
2. Why did you start it?
Barry: We’d both always wanted to start our own business and we got the idea for Party Hard Travel when we went on our first clubbing holiday. We managed to get our holiday for £150 less than the big travel brands were offering for the same deal.
However, when we got out there, we couldn't afford to go to the biggest and best events as those same companies were charging €300 for a week’s events package.
Therefore, we decided we wanted to make clubbing holidays more accessible to young people by combining the cheaper holiday prices with a superior events package. And that’s what we did. Our holidays cost about the same as the bigger travel brands, but the major difference is that all the events our customers want to go to are included. It’s a better experience for our customers.
3. How did the business develop?
Nathan: When we first came up with the idea for Party Hard Travel we were so excited because we had spotted a genuine gap in the market. After creating a website back in 2013 we thought we'd get thousands of bookings as soon as the site went live.
But, we were very wrong. We quickly found out that price wasn't everything and the experience and memories were far more important to guests.
After more market research we found that a really high proportion of youngsters were buying the €300 events package after being pressured in to it, leaving them with very little money to make the most of their holiday. Not only was this impacting the overall experience of their holiday, it also had a huge knock on effect to the local economy.
Seeing this occur time and time again we developed our product further. We created our Party Hard event packages which included all of the biggest and best events in each resort. Then, instead of charging customers in resort we decided we would include it for free with every holiday booking, practically re-inventing the clubbing holiday.
Party Hard's USP is an itinerary of events included in the price
Summer 2015 was our first and we really struggled to convince people we were a real company. The phrases ‘it's too good to be true' and 'it's not legit' kept coming up in our social media posts!
We managed to hit our target and got some really good 5* reviews in, which really helped with consumer confidence for the year ahead. In 2016 we moved out of Barry's bedroom and into an office. We started working with independent travel agents who would sell our event packages to customers who had already booked their holiday through them.
We managed to increase our sales by 400% and finally we were on the map and people started to understand what we were all about.
4. Tell us about market conditions
Barry: They are really interesting - we're competing against brands that have been in the market for decades and in some resorts they're doing everything they can to stop us! It’s understandable in a way, as they’ve had the monopoly on this audience for some time, and we’re showing customers that there is a different way.
We've grown over 1,200% in two years, so it looks like this education phase is beginning to pay off.
Summer 17 was a huge year for us. We established partnership deals with brands that are important to our target audience such as boohoo and Unidays. We also sponsored the competitions on ITV's Love Island and MTV's Geordie Shore to challenge the misconceptions of not being 'legit'.
We won New Business of the year at the toast of Surrey awards and the TTA Member of the year at the TTNG Conference beating over 600 well established travel agents.
5. What's the biggest challenge?
Nathan: Technology is currently our biggest challenge. One of our main advantages over our competition is having the ability to be agile, testing and changing different things all of the time and constantly developing our proposition.
We currently outsource our tech and it can take up to three months to get key changes to the website which can be very frustrating for the team who are looking to make quick changes.
6. What has been your biggest mistake?
Barry: Where do I start? There must be thousands of mistakes we've made since starting out in 2013. But we prefer to think of them as learnings.
We’re still a relatively new company, and we’re innovating in our category and that means being willing to try out new things that will help us to keep things fresh for our customers. People should be a lot more willing to make mistakes, especially over smaller things.
Barry and Nathan have scooped some important awards for their business
7. What major bumps in the road have you had and how did you overcome them?
Nathan: One of the biggest was when we ploughed most of our investment funds into the new website and marketing for our big launch campaign in January 2015. We didn’t get a single sale the whole month! Being both inquisitive and positive were key to overcoming this problem.
We knew we had something unique that no one else was offering, so we just kept asking as many questions as we could to figure out why people were not buying, adapting and finessing as we went.
8. What sets your business apart from the rest and how have you nurtured this point of difference?
Barry: Our business model is a consequence of our values and character. We’re two young men under the age of 30 who know what their customers want- to have a brilliant holiday with their mates, to not get ripped off, and to experience the best events.
We've just been ourselves and that shows in the culture of the company- ambitious, hardworking, positive and willing to do things differently. We were delighted that Nathan was recognised as one of Travel Trade Gazette’s 30 under 30 Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders for 2016/7.
9. How do you attract and retain good people?
Nathan: After some failures in the recruitment process in the past few years we now hire based on the values and attitude of the person instead of purely on education and experience.
We treat our staff with great respect and they all feel empowered to put forward recommendations on how we can drive the business forward, which is really important for us. We also took the whole team to the Ibiza Closing Parties in September as a reward for hitting our targets for the year which can't be bad for retention!
10. Final advice to others?
Barry: We went through three years of near enough constant failure before starting to see proper results. Take action, be yourself and results will come - eventually!