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Club 18-30

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Title: Club 18-30  
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Subject: Bradford, James A. Reed (entrepreneur), British Resort Inspection Agency, Association of Independent Tour Operators, Tourism Concern
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Club 18-30

Club 18-30
Industry Package holidays
Founded 1968
Headquarters Bradford, England, UK
Area served
United Kingdom, Spain, Greece
Parent Thomas Cook Group
Website Club 18-30

Club 18-30 is a holiday company working from 100 Oxford Street, London that provides holidays for people aged 17–35 in typical party island destinations. The original Club 18.30 logo (sunset and sea) and subsequent logos and holiday brochures, were designed by Graphic Designers Nick Ewart and Mike Williams. Club 18-30 company was sold on to Thomas Cook and now takes around 110,000 guests each year with turnover of around £50m a year. The average age of guests is 19, and one third of customers are travelling on holiday without their parents for the first time.


The company was set up in 1970 by the Horizon Group to offer package holidays targeted at young singles and couples to travel without families or children. The idea for starting Club 18-30 came from Paul Latchman. Initial promotion was low-key, even austere. To maximise the use of aircraft, night flights were used. The first destination was Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava. Horizon Group only received modest success and sold the company on to a management buyout in 1973. Subsequently, during the 1970s, the popularity of these holidays was increased by cut-price air fares. Furthermore, an advertising campaign promoted attractions of people who were sexually active and could enjoy themselves in uninhibited, alcohol-fuelled ways. Despite its notorious image, the company was listed on stock exchange in 1980. In 1982 it was acquired by International Leisure Group (ILG) and continued to grow and prosper.[1] In 1991, ILG collapsed and was taken over as a management buy-out backed by venture capitalists County NatWest Ventures, Grosvenor Capital and Causeway Capital, in a transaction valued at £167,000. After being briefly rebranded as The Club due to regulatory rules precluding the use of the name for 3 years, it reverted to the original name in 1994. In 1995 the company was sold for around £9.75m as a part of a "bimbo" with various venture capitalists including Royal Sun Alliance and others and incorporated with Sunset Holidays and the newly formed airline Flying Colours.(Total deal £40m) In 1998, Thomas Cook acquired Flying Colours for £57.5m.

Club 18-30 was subsequently incorporated into Thomas Cook’s JMC (John Mason Cook) brand of travel companies which included the operating brands Flying Colours, Sunworld, Sunset, Inspirations and Caledonian Airways. In 2002, following a strategic review of the business, the management company UP Trips, was formed to ensure that Club 18-30 retained its dominant position in the youth market by providing a dynamic package offering. However, by 2008, the UpTrips Management company dissolved with Club 18-30 once more a key product within the Thomas Cook portfolio.


Thomas Cook's Bradford city centre offices



In 1995, the company's sexually suggestive billboard advertising ruffled feathers with the Advertising Standards Agency, being the second most complained-about firm of that year. The ads, designed by Saatchi & Saatchi included Beaver Espana, "Be up at the crack of Dawn... or Julie... or..." and It's not all sex, sex, sex. There's a bit of sun and sea as well.[3] They were the subject of an activist graffiti campaign in Manchester [4] which succeeded in gaining local and national media attention.[5][6]

Club Reps on ITV

Since January 2002, the ITV programme Club Reps, made by STV Productions and narrated by Emma B, and later Lisa I'Anson, unearthed the murky underworld of the life of a travel representative on Club 18-30 holidays. It kept the Daily Mail awash with graphic stories. It also doubled bookings for Club 18-30 holidays.

In 2005, Channel 5 showed a documentary called the Curse of Club 18-30 made by North One Television. Club 18-30 were not happy with the documentary and complained to Ofcom. Ofcom agreed that they had not been allowed to answer for themselves on the documentary but the other allegations made were not unfair.


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External links

  • Club 18-30
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