Getting paid to party abroad sounds like a dream job.
But a former Club 18-30 holiday rep admits the antics on hit ITV2 show Kavos Weekender are nothing compared to what they were up to.
From vacationers sinking a fishing boat to a guest missing for three days and a group of boys playing pool underwater, it was all in a day’s work.
Tom, now 42, who lives in Manchester, tells The Sun he saw the show the other night and “felt like an old man”.
“I thought, ‘You don’t know what it was like back then — you don’t even know you were born,'” he says.
The long-running reality series started in Magaluf in 2013, moved to Ibiza two years later and is now based in Kavos on the Greek island of Corfu.
Tom, who spent two summers in Kavos, decided to apply to be a holiday representative for the Thomas Cook Club 18-30 after holidaying abroad with a bunch of lads in his early 20s.
He recalls, “The 18-30 club was the hardest part of getting a job. The interview lasted quite a long time.
“I remember going into a hotel in Manchester and getting drunk a lot and they saw who could get up for practice in the morning – and I walked in.”
Tom started out as what he called “foot soldier” before managing other staff and being responsible for 1,200 guests.
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The former voice talent, who used to host pool parties at the hotel where Kavo’s Weekender was filmed, says: “My cell phone number was on the door of more than 1,200 guests. That was the emergency number.
“As you can imagine, I arrived at 3am to get some sleep and the phone rang. It said, ‘Yes, can you come to the doctor’s office or the police station?’ Or, ‘There’s a mad hotelier trying to fight some guests’.”
He reveals he was once called out by an angry local in the early hours of the morning after a group of teenage British holidaymakers sank a fishing boat.
Tom arrived at a beach bar and found four guys tied from behind.
“The guy said, ‘These guys managed to jump on the fishing boat and sink it,'” he recalls.
“It cost 20,000 euros, which they definitely didn’t have. I had to kind of de-escalate the situation from ‘You shouldn’t kill these guys’ to ‘Maybe we should call the police?’
“The boys had to call home to get their parents to wire some money.”
Another group of drunk boys decided to throw a late-night pool party — and stole the hotel’s pool table from the front desk.
Tom recalls: “I got a call from the disgruntled hotel manager who found them playing pool at the bottom of the pool – complete with snorkels and masks.
“I thought, ‘Wow, that’s going to cost her.’ This is where hotels make their money – from the fines. They would charge £50 for a missing fork or something stupid like that.”
As a Representative, Tom’s job was to make people happy, and he admits that he and his colleagues would outdo each other with their bizarre antics to entertain guests.
He says: “It was a competition to see who could do the wildest thing. I ate cat food for breakfast for a week.
“I once drank a whole bottle of sunscreen. It gave me stomach cramps and made me really sick.
“But everyone used to laugh about it.”
Once a sleepy fishing village, Kavos became infamous as a world famous party destination in the 90’s and early 00’s.
Tom recalls how five club reps were photographed engaging in lewd sexual activity on Kavos beach in 2003 – after drinking games got out of hand on a certain liquor ride.
He says: “Both the representatives and the guests were quite drunk. I think there was a gamble that if the guests win they have to win and vice versa.
“It caused a lot of uproar. After that, the press was everywhere.
“We no longer went out in uniform and kept the rep’s iconic name tag in our pockets.”
It wasn’t just fun drinking games. Once a guest went missing for three days and Tom had to call the police, fearing he was dead.
He says: “The police were looking for him. He just came back. I said: ‘Where have you been?’
“He went to Turkey on a quad and didn’t tell anyone. He couldn’t understand the excitement. I said, ‘Everyone thought you were dead’.”
Tom says things are very different now, adding: “Being Smashed was pretty cool back then. Chris Evans was big on TV, the Ladette culture was huge.
“That’s what everyone seemed to do back then. It was just that we took it to the extreme.
“But if you look at the kids today, they don’t go on vacation just for that anymore. Youth culture is completely different than it was. Club 18-30 is long gone.
“Kavos is a wonderful place and I will return there this year. It goes with the times and it changes. It’s shaking off its old reputation.”
And he says his life as a single dad working for a top recruiting firm is a world away from his repping days — but he still gets the odd reminder.
“I was on a work video call recently and spotted one of the female employees involved in this infamous incident,” Tom recalls.
“She now works for a huge investment firm. I said, ‘Oh hi!’ You could see the color drain from her face as she recognized me.
“Of course I didn’t say anything.”
He admits that about half of the sales reps returned after their first summer because the job was so “cutthroat” — with strict sales targets to meet.
This included the sale of tickets to the 18-30 club’s Kavos reunion at the Butlins in Skegness, Lincolnshire later that year.
He says: “There was a rule among the reps that if you slept with a girl and she didn’t book the reunion, you had to pay for it yourself.
“I had to pay for a pair, I won’t lie.”
Working as a Representative gave Tom invaluable life skills – including leading a group of unfortunate boys who were lost hundreds of miles from where they were originally intended.
He chuckles: “I remember a group of guys from Wales calling me on the way to a Butlins meeting.
“They said: ‘We’re on the A1 and have just passed Newcastle but we’re having trouble finding it.’ I had to direct them to where they needed to go.
“Turns out they thought Skegness was in Scotland. I said, ‘No, that’s Loch Ness.’
“It took them 20 hours to get there.”
Kavo’s Weekender can be viewed on ITVX.
https://www.the-sun.com/travel/7096776/kavos-holiday-rep-life-boozy-brits/ My life as a Kavos holiday rep – downing bottle of sun cream to bailing out Brits who sank boat & fearing guest was dead