Thomas Cook to Scrap `Sex & Sangria' Beach Parties by Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- Thomas Cook Group Plc said this summer will be the last for its Club 18-30 brand, which has lured generations of Britons with the promise of sun, free-flowing alcohol and a high likelihood of a holiday hookup.

While the allure of spring break-style mayhem proved irresistible to the youth of the 1980s and 1990s, today’s millennials want a more upscale experience -- or at least feel the need to suggest that they do in their social media accounts, according to the 175-year-old tour operator.

Thomas Cook said early this week that 18-30 would be offloaded or closed and the company told Bloomberg Thursday that while 2018’s holidays will go ahead as planned, that will be the end of the line. It bought the brand in 1998 at a time when the offer of cheap and cheerful holidays dovetailed perfectly with Britain’s export of club culture to the Mediterranean.

Club 18-30 was advertised with controversial slogans including “Discover Your Erogenous Zones,” juxtaposed with outlines of the islands of Corfu, Ibiza, Majorca, Rhodes and Tenerife, promoting a level of excess that in the smartphone age would bring with it a significant risk of public shaming.

The tour operator will now focus on Club Cook, a pared back offering with simple but stylish rooms and an emphasis on outdoor activities. The brand aims to have 15 hotels by next summer offering street food, cocktails and a poolside DJ creating an “alternative kind of atmosphere.”

That will fit more with a desire among modern travelers “to post cool pictures on Instagram to share with friends and the world,” according to Thomas Cook Chief Executive Officer Peter Fankhauser.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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