Being unable to attend the best parties on a “lads holiday” to Ayia Napa in Cyprus back in 2009 was the initial inspiration for Nathan Cable and business partner Barry Moore to come up with the idea for their tour operator, Party Hard Travel.
Cable and Moore had opted to book their flights, accommodation and transfers themselves rather than going with a tour operator, which worked out about £100 cheaper than a package trip. But when they got to Ayia Napa, they found they could not afford to go to all the best beach and boat parties, unlike a group of friends who had booked with an established operator.
“As students at the time, we didn’t have a lot of spending money so had to miss out on the best parties,” says Cable. “We had to chill at the bars and free clubs. We had a good time but we could’ve had a better time.”
The experience got Cable and Moore thinking about a possible business opportunity – selling holidays to the most popular clubbing hotspots in the Mediterranean.
“We thought that if we could package up entry to all the best events and parties, we could compete with the big players by having a similar price to them,” adds Cable.
This was the genesis of Party Hard Travel, which first started life in Moore’s bedroom before the pair opened their first office in Guildford in early 2016.
After graduating from Portsmouth University, Cable worked as a business analyst for British Airways’ loyalty scheme, Avios, before leaving to work full-time at Party Hard Travel.
The operator managed to secure private investment to develop the business, which now offers packages to seven European resorts: Ayia Napa, Kavos, Ibiza, Malia, Magaluf, Zante and Sunny Beach in Bulgaria.
“Our USP is that we’ve gone out to seven resorts and sourced the biggest and most established events to create Party Hard event packages,” explains Cable.
“This includes all the biggest parties and beach club nights with famous DJs bundled into one package.
“If you were to buy them individually it would cost €300 for all the events. Our clients get it for free if they book a package with us or they can just buy the event package for £99 to £129.”
Initially, demand was strongest for the events package but this has changed as Party Hard Travel has established itself and more customers have been booking travel packages.
“At the start, people didn’t know if we were for real and they were asking if we had an Atol,” admits Cable. “We felt we had to have Atol protection, and since we got that, it’s made a real difference to our bookings.”
But success did not come easily as bookings failed to materialise when the company first launched its summer programme last year.
“In January 2015, we expected to see all the bookings flood in but it didn’t happen,” Cable says. “We spoke to all our event suppliers who started promoting us through their social media, and that’s when things began taking off.
“We started getting good reviews and word of mouth has spread. In the first year it was mostly last minute bookings for event packages but that’s changed to more holidays now.
“We’ve faced brick wall after brick wall over the last two years, but we’ve been knocking them down.”
Cable’s long-term ambitions are for the brand to become “the market leader for party travel” in the UK, challenging brands such as Thomas Cook’s Club 18-30 and Thomson Scene.
So what’s next for Party Hard Travel? In the short term, the operator is targeting independent travel agents with the launch of a bookable online trade platform later this year – a move designed to help Party Hard Travel reach its target of 10,000 passengers next year. Not bad for a business that was still being run from bedrooms and coffee shops this time last year.
Paul Nelson, portfolio press and PR manager, World Travel Market – sponsor of Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders – says:
“Nathan Cable and Party Hard Travel was one of the stand-out applications during the judging process for the 2016 intake to TTG’s 30 Under 30.
Often the best ideas come from personal experiences and Party Hard Travel was born out of the disappointment of not being able to afford to get into the best clubs on holiday.
The operator is becoming a true disruptor and taking on established players with ambitious growth plans. He and his business partner Barry Moore have shown great determination to overcome the challenges they faced. Having heard from Cable at TTG’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders Conference, it was clear he has the passion and vision to grow the company further.”