Social change responsible for the death of Club 18-30

If you are old enough, cast your mind back 30 years or so and a Club 18-30’s holiday was a rite-of-passage for the youth of their day.

Foreign travel, although common, was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today. Take Club 18-30. A break in the sun was less about the culture (or indeed the country) and all about the booze, the craic and having a fleet of reps. Not to mention the role of the now almost extinct travel agent.

But the world has changed and travellers want something very different.

Authenticity and responsibility are the watch words and brands like Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Skyscanner are enablers of this. It’s no wonder, therefore, that Thomas Cook is thinking about killing off its hugely famous brand. And right it is too.

When customers no longer want something, there is no point in trying to persuade them otherwise. Change is the name of the game. Adapt or die has never been so relevant in the modern business environment.

The cultural experience is paramount.

Already Thomas Cook, which is one of the world’s first holiday companies – its history rooted in the late 1800s in the time of the Grand Tour – has started re-branding its Club 18-30s sites. The plan is to make them more attractive to a more culturally discerning guest. And with its strong brand heritage it could do well.

However, in the heydays of Club 18-30 it achieved over 100,000 bookings a year and to return to this kind of volume more than just a make-over is required.

Brand relevancy through customer understanding will be crucial to capturing the business of the new breed of guest.