Love Holidays. Doesn't everyone? Love holidays, that is. And sometimes, ah, there is the holiday romance. Love on holiday. Yes, but it's not just about the love, is it? Sex as well. Who'd have thought. And the implied sex. That's part of the deal, and this deal also entails booze (quite a bit of it) plus ... plus, whatever. Anything goes. Oh no, it doesn't. Calvia town hall has been saying this for a time. The Balearic government is definitely now saying it. There's a decree for the "tourism of the excesses", a grand decree title that can be nicknamed booze tourism law, or sex and booze tourism law. You know the score, and you also know where we're talking about. Magalluf, or if one is being very precise, Punta Ballena, although that's somewhat misleading, especially when you're out at sea on a party boat. Still, Punta Ballena will do as shorthand. Everyone knows what you mean.
Love Holidays. What do we know? Love Holidays was founded in 2011. In 2016, the FT listed Love Holidays as the 34th fastest growing company between 2012 and 2015. Two years ago, Love Holidays ranked sixth among the UK's leading tour operators and online travel agencies (OTAs) behind - in order - Tui, Jet2, Thomas Cook, Expedia and On the Beach. One has to guess that Love Holidays has moved up at least one spot since then.
Familiar enough with the name, I had never had any reason to look at the Love Holidays website. Until now. What is there? What do you think? "This week our customers are booking ...". Among the hotels is Bellevue in Alcudia. Other hotels are (or were at time of writing) on the Algarve, in Malta, Tenerife, Benidorm, Morocco. No hotel in Magalluf as such, although Love Holidays offers Magalluf - as you would expect. BH, Sol Katmandu, Sol House, Innside by Melia Calvia Beach, Lively Magaluf, and a whole range in terms of star ratings on a website which, on the home page, also highlights family holidays, all-inclusive, last-minute and sale holidays.
Love Holidays is an OTA as opposed to being a tour operator. Love Holidays has done well, very well, and I was well aware of its success and of it being a generalist OTA that specialises in the best deals possible before the name started cropping up in the Spanish media in recent days. There were different reports which were essentially the same, and they were to do with the excesses' decree inasmuch as they were about cheap deals for partying in Magalluf aimed at a young UK holidaymaker. Despite lockdown and uncertainties regarding travel, here were British tour operators making these offers on the internet. A focus was an "all-inclusive" partying package - alcohol as well - for something over 100 euros. Publicising alcohol offers is not permitted under the decree, albeit that UK-registered businesses would presumably be beyond the scope of the decree.
Love Holidays was one of two "tour operators" mentioned. Well, I'm blowed if I can find any party package for Magalluf on the Love Holidays website. The blurb about Magalluf refers to parties at clubs and bars along the "popular strip", and it also says that "once a byword for hedonistic excess, Magalluf has been carefully positioning itself as a family resort for the last few years". Specifically under nightlife, it says that "many hotels have their own nightclubs attached to their all-inclusive package". BCM and its "infamous pool parties, foam parties, popcorn parties" is name-checked, and Magalluf as "a popular destination for stag dos and hen weekends" is noted. But this is what it is - blurb. There's nothing here about offers, and I would be surprised if there were. Love Holidays is an OTA that will have its commission deals with hotels; this is what an OTA does.
How does Love Holidays come to have been specified in these reports? I'm scratching my head. Maybe it's the name. Love. Love Island connotation and all that. And then there's the other tour operator which is named. This is Party Hard Travel, which is where the all-inclusive partying package seems to have come from. It costs 129 pounds, can only be booked online and contains boat cruise, BCM night, a discount for a couple of places for food, a t-shirt and certain other events.
In terms of the decree, there is - from what I can see - no specific reference to alcohol or alcohol offers in Party Hard's Magalluf section. Images for the boat cruise include the words booze cruise, but these seem to be the only indication. Alcohol is of course implicit, but it certainly isn't explicit. Moreover, the media reports hinted that this package was new, when in fact it isn't.
What's going on here? Might it have something to do with the fact that there's no scope at present for the normal Magalluf reports? It seems pretty desperate to me.