Former Cadogan Holidays managing director Tom Allen has launched his latest travel venture, an adult-only experiential tour operator that will sell through travel agents.
The idea for Cloud 9 Escapes came from Allen’s new business partner, Vivian Ashworth, who previously set up Twentys Holidays, a rival to Club 18-30.
The pair were introduced by a mutual friend and have been working on establishing the business since last June. It soft‑launched last week.
Cloud 9 Escapes has joined The Advantage Travel Partnership and is operating under the consortium’s Atol and Abta membership as a managed business.
Allen said: “We have created this for adults only who are looking for experiential holidays and to go away with like‑minded people.
“We have sourced product ourselves and all of it is bookable online. We’re going direct to consumers at first but we will work with niche travel agents with the right clientele.”
Cloud 9 Escapes currently offers a range of soft‑adventure tours but will soon add more creative, culinary and photography-themed holidays.
Allen said it would cater for small groups of between four and 15 customers, and although clients are expected to be older it is not promoting itself as a grey market specialist.
“Thirty per cent of over-50s are single,” said Allen. “Initially we thought the over-50s market was interesting but you can’t market just to over-50s because if you do all you will get are over-70s.”
The venture has been privately funded but Allen said it may look for additional outside investment.
In its first year it is looking to carry 2,000 customers.
Bookings are handled by Warrington-based call centre CTS.
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