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Manchester, United Kingdom — 22-25 September 2009

WYSE Archives

Millennials shutting the Club 18-30 party down

May 15, 2018

The catchphrase ‘sun, sex, and sea’ doesn’t appear to be catching as many bookings for the once famous, and sometimes infamous, Club 18-30. Thomas Cook, the brand’s owner for the past 20 years, has announced it is reviewing the brand and exploring options to sell.

The party package holidays have been around since the 1960s. At its peak, Club 18-30 was a renowned tour operator for youth travelling without adult supervision for the first time. In the 1980s and 90s, the company had as many as 100,000 bookings each year for trips primarily from the UK to Mediterranean destinations.

The brand’s bad reputation for extreme boozing was at one time part of its appeal, however the changing tastes of millennial and genZ travellers may have finally shut the party down.

Presently, the company’s website outlines the brand’s USPs, or “Why Club 18-30?”:

  1. Top reps. 2. Buzzing events. 3. Wild crowds. 4. Legendary destinations

These travel motivations are a sharp contrast to those shared with WYSE Travel Confederation in the recent New Horizons Survey of 57,000 youth and student travellers worldwide.

The survey found that young people are travelling to explore other cultures, experience everyday life in another country, and increase their knowledge. The survey also uncovered a noticeable decline in the number of young travellers who are visiting nightclubs while in a destination.

graph showing the top activities of youth travellers

Clubbing and boozing may not make the cut with today’s 18 to 30 year old travellers, but they do appear to want more of everything else, including cafes, historical sites, and shopping. More than ever, they especially desire to ‘live like a local’ in a destination.

While Thomas Cook moves away from the Club 18-30 brand, the company is also taking steps to broaden the company’s appeal to young travellers. The first Cook’s Club is opening in Crete and 15 additional properties are expected by summer 2019.

The company has said the property is designed to focus only on the things that Cook believes matters to ‘a new generation of traveller.’ According to Thomas Cook, this includes simple rooms, quality food and drinks, and top-notch DJs.

Millennial and GenZ travellers are already estimated to account for 23% of all international arrivals worldwide. As this valuable travel market continues to grow in both size and spending power, many travel brands will need to re-evaluate their offerings to stay relevant. For this, the New Horizons Survey offers unparalleled industry insights into the habits and motivations of young travellers. Learn more about the New Horizons IV Survey and report.