Despite the closures of many partying abroad travel brands, Party Hard Travel is growing year on year with the help of its brand-focused founders.
Nathan Cable and Barry Moore both came up with their business whilst studying together at Portsmouth University.
Business Advice caught up with Cable and Moore to find out how they have kept afloat and taken the lead in a flaky industry.
1) Who are you and what is your business?
Party Hard Travel’s core offering is party holidays to Malia, Kavos, Sunny Beach, Zante, Magaluf, Ibiza and Ayia Napa. We provide the biggest events/parties free with every holiday package combined with an innovative approach to customer service.
Nathan Cable: We work really hard to ensure that we have the best events as part of the itinerary and have also launched our own branded events for summer 2018. When you’re booking that first clubbing holiday, it’s that reassurance of having all the hard work done for you. Our customers know that their package will include the events they’ll want to go to when they get into resort, and that our focus will be on ensuring they have the best holiday possible.
Barry Moore: There has been lots in the news about established brands like Club 18-30 who are finding the market tough but for us, we’re seeing triple digit growth year on year and are on track to be the market leader by 2020, maybe even earlier. The reason we’re successful is because we’re specialists and focus on the customer first with everything we do.
2) How did you come up with the concept?
Barry Moore: Nathan and I came up with the idea whilst at Portsmouth University. We were always sitting around in halls trying to come up with schemes to make money but the opportunity came when we took our first holiday to Ayia Napa. This was our first holiday without parents and expectations were high, we were ready to experience the clubs, the events, we wanted it all. It was such a let-down to realise that wasn’t going to happen as the events packages sold in resort were too expensive. We founded Party Hard Travel from that position of empathy and of understanding what our target audience wants from a holiday. We’d lived through the frustrations and disappointments, and knew that we could do it better. As we did our research, we saw our experience in Ayia Napa was par for the course in the industry. The bigger players weren’t delivering in customer experience, and that’s when we realised that this was a real opportunity and began to approach it seriously as entrepreneurs.
3) What was key in terms of getting started?
Nathan Cable: The main thing initially was research. We found that youngsters were being pressured into buying expensive events packages once in resort, meaning they were short on cash for the rest of the holiday. More than that though, there was this mentality within the industry of ‘that’s good enough for them’. Like the rest of the population, young people’s expectations of their holidays have risen. They want to be at the best events, they want the proper customer experience that every other holidaymaker gets rather than being treated like a second class citizen. From the start it was about giving young people the holidays they deserve, and ultimately, giving them the platform to have the best week of their lives. We secured deals with the biggest event promoters in the top resorts, built the website, and we were ready!
4) What makes the business unique?
Barry Moore: We set up Party Hard Travel in 2014 precisely because the big operators hadn’t kept up with the times. They were still running their brands like the digital revolution had never happened. Still pressure selling products, still playing seedy sex games and forcing guests to go to inferior events. We could have told them long ago that this approach doesn’t work anymore. Party Hard Travel isn’t a side-line to our main operation. This is what we do, and we do it well.
5) What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?
Nathan Cable: Probably the biggest challenges were around sales and marketing. We built a new website in January 2015 and sat back waiting for the sales to come rolling in, and they just didn’t, nothing! One of the major problems was actually the ‘too good to be true’ effect. The party travel market had been stagnant for such a long time with just a few operators dominating, and building that trust took time.
6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Barry Moore: In the current economic climate, and with even established operators in our industry struggling, it would have to be the growth that we have achieved. We’ve grown over 1200% in the last two years and 2018 looks to be our best year yet. We were also delighted when the business was awarded the Travel Network Group’s Member of the Year for 2017 at the TTNG Conference, as it recognised the hard work we’ve put into the business. To win this over 600 established agents was a real highlight.
7) Describe your marketing technique – what strategies have you used?
Nathan Cable: We’ve worked relentlessly on our product offering, making it as strong as it possibly can be. Our Ultimate Events Package which is free with every booking for 2018, gives access to around 9 of the biggest and best events that each resort has to offer. We include everything from club nights like Abode or Together @ Amnesia with Chase & Status, Hannah Wants and MK in Ibiza and events like the BCL Festival on Poseidon Beach in Ayia Napa, to party events like Full Moon Parties, Beach Parties, Yacht and Boat Parties and location takeovers. It’s a full on events package. Promotion wise, this year we launched our own range of resort events Party Hard at The Zoo with a UK wide club tour- ideal for reaching our target audience.
8) In five years’ time, I will be…
Barry Moore: Enjoying seeing Party Hard Travel operate as the leading party travel brand! Longer term, we have people within the business like our Head of Overseas Jodie Pilgrim who we can see being able to take an even more active role in running Party Hard Travel. In the future, I’d like to set up a social enterprise to help disadvantaged young people learn skills like engineering. I’ve got the whole plan, I just haven’t got the time to put it into action at the moment.
Nathan Cable: Like Barry, our goal right now is driving forward the Party Hard Travel brand. In the future, I’d like to set up an incubator space to help young people to develop their own business ideas. Encouraging young people is something I’m passionate about- we’ve got a really strong apprentice programme at Party Hard Travel, giving real responsibility and allowing everyone the opportunity to influence the company as it grows.
9) Who are your business heroes and why?
Barry Moore: My real heroes are entrepreneurs who’ve had a brilliant business idea and made it work, like serial entrepreneur Russell Brunson who started his first company whilst at university and since then has started a number of online companies. His book DotCotSecrets is a great read with interesting concepts like the value ladder and the soap opera sequence. Another is Jack Stack who turned around a near bankrupt company and wrote about his techniques in The Great Game of Business. Again, this book has some valuable concepts like enabling each employee to understand the financials and ‘act like an owner’.
10) What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Nathan Cable: I’d say look for genuine customer needs and look for ways to solve them. Then be tenacious and keep going. Even when things get hard. If certain aspects of the business aren’t working, or people aren’t buying, well there is a reason for that. And you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to find out why, then put it right.
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