- Describe your company.
We specialise in young people’s clubbing holidays and festival events.
- How did the idea for your business come about?
When we were at university, we would sell tickets for small events that happened in and around our university. That triggered the idea of taking it forward as a business. We worked on it from there.
- Why the name Mainstage Travel and who thought of it?
We thought it was short, simple and that everyone would be able to remember it. The whole team had been trying to work out the perfect name to fit our image when we both came up with it.
- Tell us a bit about yourselves.
We went to Manchester University where we studied business and felt keen on running a business together. Then we came up with this idea and started working on it as soon as we finished university. At the time, we were around the same age as our potential customers. So, we knew what people of that age group would like. We knew what would attract them and what to offer them. Having a business mind and a sound knowledge in business helped us understand what it would take to make it work.
- What developments has your company made since being picked and backed by BBC show Dragons’ Den star Piers Linney with a £100,000 investment?
Since working with Piers, we have taken considerable steps towards making our company more professional and fit for higher growth. We have also been developing our innovative technology platform as a system that can be used by hotels and companies. This has enabled us to become both a travel as well as a technology company. We will have some incredible technical products coming out very soon.
- What is the market size of your product today and what is the growth rate you expect?
The market size is huge. Clubbing holidays and festivals have always been popular with young people but in recent years, there has been a bigger increase in the number of people taking part in them. Since young adults make up about a third of the population, the market we work in is huge, which is perfect for our product.
This market is also constantly increasing and will continue to grow each year with young adults turning 18 or finishing college and about to start university. There are also the more mature young adults (20+) who may have been working all year and want a break, who also form a part of our customer base.
Our product will constantly be popular, as clubbing holidays and festivals has been around for years and they don’t look like they are going to die out any time soon. This gives us plenty of time to grow our business and further it within the clubbing holiday and festival markets.
- Who are your biggest customers (age group wise)?
Our biggest age group are mature young adults, as they tend to be more interested in festivals than clubbing holidays. This is probably because they have already been on such holidays and clubbing destinations, and now want to try something different. We have our own Snowboxx winter festival, along with packages for about six other summer festivals. So, we have a wide range of festivals on offer with some fantastic prices.
- What are your competitive advantages and why can’t your model be copied?
Our competitive edge is that a lot of the existing travel agents are out-dated and don’t seem to understand what young adults want from their packages.
We offer complete packages, which are exactly what our young customers look for. For example, our clubbing holiday packages not only include flights and accommodation, like other travel agents do, but much more, like transfers and event tickets too. These are all included in the price of the holiday.
Besides saving 20-30% on the overall price, we also save our customers money once they get on their holidays, as their expenses for transfers and event tickets are paid for before they arrive at the destination. There aren’t many travel agents who offer these great priced packages.
We also save them a lot of time as customers would otherwise need to buy tickets and then arrange for their travel and accommodation separately.
- How do you plan to develop your brand? Any other areas of travel that you are looking to get in to?
We are constantly developing our brand and within the destinations and events, we are constantly making sure that we not only offer the same packages but also a better one each year. Previously, we were able to add a new destination each year to our clubbing holidays. So, though there is no way to say where or when yet, we are continuing to grow and becoming more successful each year. So, who knows where we will be offering great packages for in the years to come.
- The biggest challenges and triumphs so far?
Our biggest triumph was gaining a name within the travel industry. We were able to achieve that after a lot of hard work and determination.
- Tell us more about your plans to launch a new ski festival brand?
They are really exciting new plans, watch out!
- What motivates you?
Our main motivation has always been to be able to create a successful and a constantly growing business.
Photo: (L-R) Rob Tominey, Piers Linney of Dragon’s Den and Aden Levin