Our Ios summer 2020 experience so far
For those who don’t know me, my name is Rene & I'm one of the founders of Life is a Beachparty (LIABP).
I have been coming to Ios every summer since 2012, and this one is unlike any of them I have experienced before!
For us as a company, we are looking into the unknown, given that the COVID situation can change at any moment, and we are not sure whether this will all be over soon.
So, of course we have had many thoughts on how to adapt to the situation, and how to still cater for people who love to travel and have a great time.
If you asked me how my first 2 weeks on the island has been so far, I would say - very different, but still great!
Between groups who cancelled and airlines that cancelled flights on other groups who still wanted to come, there are only a few groups left who will actually make their way to Ios with us this summer.
Our first group were 3 guys from Switzerland, who said on their last day, that it was their best decision to come, and that they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
I guess it's all about how you manage your expectations. There are still so many fun things to do, and great ways to spend some amazing days, if you are not expecting to be only partying 24/7. Of course, not all bars are open, not as many people are around to party with. However, there is an upside to that too. The people who do actually meet, put more effort into talking and getting to know each other. Everyone is very open and wants to hear the other person's story about how they experienced this whole lockdown in their country.
People are exploring the island with quads, spend more time at the beach, go to nice dinners and appreciate the Greek hospitality. It's simply a different experience this time around.
Having said that, for those who want to party, go ahead! Gary, who has been our main rep for the past few years, still manages to stay out until 5-7 am every single day! The only difference is that instead of 10 bars being packed at the same time, there are now only 2-3 busy bars. So, the diversity isn’t as great as usual, but still plenty of options and time to have fun.
Our Swiss boys partied hard, made a lot of new friends, but also saw more of the island than most of our groups usually do. A very balanced holiday experience.
I think in times like these, you feel the benefits of travelling with a company like ours. We really know everyone on the island, and we see ourselves as your friends who show you the island from an intimate and local point of view. You see things you wouldn’t see if you came by yourself, you get access to our network of friends in the bars and clubs. You won’t just be a number walking into places, but they will know who are you when coming with us, while making an effort to become friends with you too. We do dinners together, talk shit and laugh. At the end of the day, that is what makes the job fun for us too. To actually see and feel that we make a difference in your holiday experience, and probably being able to visit them in their home country whenever we are around too. It's a lasting positive experience, that does not end once you leave Ios.
Sure, there is a business side to what we do, otherwise we couldn’t survive. That is to mainly help you book your trip smoothly, with flights, ferries, a nice hotel and to help you with discounts in bars and restaurants.
But this will, at the end of the day, not be the main reason why you come back, and book with us, or recommend us to your friends back home. It will be the personal touch that we try to combine with our professional service. Of course, this year is bad for business, but I enjoy the fact that I have more time to get to know people.
Maybe the travel industry won’t be the same in the next few years. It may not be as easy to find tons of people wherever you travel. We still like to believe that on a holiday you want to meet new people, from different countries, while having fun. So, I think that can be the benefit in booking through a company such as LIABP. Because we gather exactly those who are looking for that, and create an environment where nothing will be missing in your holiday experience.
Many years ago, when Nick (co-founder) and I travelled all around Europe, to 'test' the best party destinations, we already felt that Ios was the place to be for us. For many reasons, and it shows in these strange times as well now. This place is different, magical, and even without the crazy parties being the main focus alone, it is always a place where you can have one of the best times in your life.
No matter how the 2021 summer will look, and what the world has waiting for us. We will be ready, we will adapt, and we will offer packages for you, suiting the situation. That's one of the benefits of not being a massive corporation, we can still make changes happen quick, and we can do so by listening to our travellers, to see what they want and need, and just go with it.
Keep following our social media, and we will be updating you along the way! Hope you all have a great summer nevertheless, and very much hope to see many of you back on the rock in 2021.