Schoolies organisers locked in feud
TWO organisers of separate Schoolies events on the Gold Coast are feuding, with the incumbent questioning the track record of a newcomer partnering with nightclubs.
New arrival Tribe Schoolies, which last month revealed a Schoolies party schedule in partnership with Surfers Paradise night spots, this week branded longtime incumbent Schoolies.com "desperate" and attracting fewer numbers.
But Schoolies.com CEO Matt Lloyd has hit back - as the arrival of 18,000 celebrating school-leavers looms this weekend - questioning Tribe Schoolies credentials and what value they were bringing to the table.
Melbas on the Park general manager Chris Gibson, a Tribe Schoolies partner, said Schoolies.com's controversial deal with Tinder - which has been axed - showed it was time for other Schoolies organisers to step in on the group's "monopoly".
"It obviously shows they're quite desperate, and they've perhaps lost a bit of control over what they used to be to stoop to those levels," he said.
"As far as we're concerned Schoolies.com has had a monopoly on the Gold Coast market for some time.
"There was a gap in the market for another operator to come along and provide a whole range of diverse and exciting entertainment opportunities."
Melbas and its upstairs club NXT LVL has partnered with Tribe Schoolies, along with Sin City, Havana and the Bedroom to run 14 party events throughout Schoolies. Tribe is also promising to bring reality TV stars from Geordie Shore and Married at First Sight's Jessika Power, a Gold Coast regular.
But Mr Lloyd said of Tribe: "What it is for them is they've been trying to desperately get a foothold in the market without much success,"
"They're the ones who are desperate. Tribe claim to have 20 years' experience in the US youth travel market. They make this claim with no supporting evidence.
"Who is the face of Tribe? So far only nightclub owners have spoken on their behalf.
"I have 26 years of experience in the Schoolies market am proud to be the face of Schoolies.com.
"I don't see what value Tribe are adding to the Schoolies market. They appear to be a copy of what is currently running very effectively."
The company behind Tribe Schoolies, Youth Travel Pty Ltd, claims to have worked on North America's Spring Break events for a decade.
The company said in a statement to the Bulletin more than 100,000 Spring Break travellers had booked with them for events in American resort hotspots.
Concerns were previously raised about the credibility of Tribe Schoolies when they announced their plans earlier this year.
The Tribe Schoolies website references Youth Travel Pty Ltd, however an online business database lists separate company NXSTEP Business Group Pty Ltd as the associated body.
Youth Travel Pty Ltd, which shares an address with NXSTEP, has only been registered since June 2018.
Sin City, Bedroom and Havana general manager Tim Martin said he had full confidence in Tribe.
"From our side, we're one of the biggest hospitality groups in Queensland, we're dealing with these guys and we wouldn't be dealing with anyone shonky," he said.
"We're confident with the product that's coming and what's about to happen.
"It's not about taking over Schoolies.com, they've done a great job and had it for years.
"But it's always good for competition and new offerings, and that's what we're really looking at."
He hoped to provide a contact for Youth Travel but was unable to by deadline yesterday.