BEING paid to party abroad sounds like a dream job.
But one former Club 18-30 holiday rep admits the antics on hit ITV2 show Kavos Weekender are nothing compared to what they got up to.
From holidaymakers sinking a fishing boat to a guest going missing for three days and a group of lads playing an underwater game of pool, it was all in a day’s work.
Tom, now 42, who lives in Manchester, tells The Sun he watched the show the other night and "felt like an old man".
"I thought, ‘you don’t know what it was like back in the day – you don’t even know you were born'," he says.
The long-running reality series started out in Magaluf in 2013 before moving 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 Thomas Cook Club 18-30 holiday rep after going on a couple of lads' holidays abroad in his early 20s.
He recalls: “Club 18-30 was the hardest to get a job with. The interview process was quite long.
"I remember going to a hotel in Manchester and there was lots of drinking, and they’d see who could get up in the morning for training – and I got in.”
Tom started out as what is known as a "foot soldier" before progressing to managing other reps and being in charge of 1,200 guests.
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The former rep, who used to host pool parties at the hotel where Kavos Weekender is filmed, says: "My mobile number was on the door of more than 1,200 guests’ doors. That was the emergency contact number.
"As you can imagine, I was getting in at 3am to get some sleep and the phone would ring. It'd be, 'Yeah, can you come to the doctor's surgery, the police station?' Or, 'There's a crazy hotelier trying to fight some guests'."
He reveals he was once called out in the early hours by a furious local, after a group of teenage Brit holidaymakers sunk a fishing boat.
Tom arrived at a beach bar to find four lads tied up in the back.
"The guy said, 'These guys have managed to jump on the fishing boat and sink it'," he recalls.
"It cost €20,000, which they definitely didn't have. I had to kind of de-escalate the situation from, 'You definitely shouldn't kill these guys' to 'maybe we should get the police in?'
"The guys had to phone home to get their parents to transfer some money."
Another group of boozed up lads decided to throw a late night pool party – and stole the hotel pool table from reception.
Tom recalls: “I got a call from the angry hotel manager who had found them playing pool at the bottom of the swimming pool – complete with snorkels and masks.
“I thought, ‘wow this is going to cost them’. That's where hotels make money – the fines. They'd charge £50 for a missing fork or something silly like that."
As a rep, it was Tom's job to make people happy, and he admits he and his colleagues would compete to outdo each other with their bizarre antics in a bid 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 also once drank a whole bottle of sun cream. It gave me stomach cramps and made me really ill.
“Everyone used to laugh their heads off at it though.”
Once a sleepy fishing village, Kavos became notorious as a world-famous party destination in the Nineties and early Noughties.
Tom recalls how five club reps were photographed indulging in a lewd sexual act on the beach in Kavos in 2003 – after drinking games on one particular booze cruise got out of hand.
He says: “Both the reps and guests got pretty drunk. I think there were dares that if the guests won, they had to do this, and the other way around.
“It caused a massive amount of uproar. After that, there was press everywhere.
“We stopped going out in uniform and we’d keep the legendary rep name tag in our pockets.”
It wasn’t all fun drinking games. Once a guest went missing for three days and Tom was forced to call in the police, fearing he was dead.
He says: "The police were looking for him. He just came back. I asked, 'where have you been?'
“He'd gone to Turkey on a quad bike and not told anyone. He couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. I said, 'Everyone thought you were dead'."
Tom says things are very different now, adding: “Getting smashed was quite cool back then. Chris Evans was big on the telly, ladette culture was huge.
“It was just what everyone seemed to do in those days. It was just that we took it to the extreme.
“But when you look at kids now, they don't go on holiday just for that anymore. Youth culture is completely different to what it was. Club 18-30 is long gone.
“Kavos is a wonderful place and I’m going back there this year. It’s moving with the times and it’s changing. It’s shaking off its old reputation.”
And he says his life now as a dad-of-one, working for a top recruitment firm, is a world away from his repping days – but he does still get the odd reminder.
“I was on a work video call recently and spotted one of the female reps involved in that notorious incident," Tom recalls.
"She now works for a massive investment firm. I was like, ‘Oh hi!’ You could see the colour drain from her face when she recognised me.
"Obviously I didn't say anything.”
He admits around just half of the reps returned after their first summer because the job was so “cut-throat” – with strict sales targets to hit.
This included selling tickets for Club 18-30’s Kavos Reunion at 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 couple, I'm not gonna lie."
Working as a rep gave Tom invaluable life skills – including directing a group of hapless lads lost hundreds of miles from where they needed to be.
He chuckles: “I remember a group of lads from Wales calling me on the way to one Butlins Reunion.
"They said, ‘We’re on the A1 and have just passed Newcastle but we’re struggling to find it.’ I had to direct them to where they needed to go.
“It turns out they thought Skegness was in Scotland. I said, ‘No, that’s Loch Ness.’
“It took them 20 hours to get there.”
Kavos Weekender is available to watch on ITVX.
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