In this week’s edition of Humans of Euroventure, we caught up with the big cheese, Philip Cabra Netherton . Phil is the co-founder and managing director of Euroventure and has been with Euroventure from the word go!
On my birth certificate it actually says Felipe Cabra Netherton, because at the time in Spain you weren’t allowed to be called by a name that could be translated into Spanish (that’s why my brother was later called Kevin…). I was born in Valencia and I’m bilingual, I still love going back to Spain where my dad lives and eating proper tapas. I’m 31 and live in Leeds now, but when I moved to the UK aged 11 I grew up in Chester, and then ended up in Birmingham, Toulouse and London for uni.
I studied physics with an Erasmus year abroad in Toulouse, which at the time was definitely the most fun year of my life and probably (I guess we are going to talk about travel) contributed to my curiosity to see the whole of Europe as I made friends with people from all over the place. I enjoyed physics enough to study to be a teacher and ended up in a secondary school in London attempting to teach science. This was tough, in fact it was tougher than running a business, which I did in the evenings after school whilst trying to mark books and prepare lessons. Those are days I definitely don’t miss!
My brother Kevin started it in his final year at Leeds University, and I ended up taking over running it when I left teaching a year or so after. We started it because we had both interrailed a few times and knew quite a lot about Europe. We just sort of threw together a website and posted a few packages, and pretty much straightaway started getting some enquiries. In the beginning we roped in anyone and everyone to help out, and didn’t really know what we were doing. But we started Euroventure because it seemed like a fun idea, and why not try it? It still feels like starting a new company every single year as we grow and add more products, and we carry on doing it because people want to travel, and we want to make their travels easy.
For Euroventure itself I actually think it’s winning silver at the British Youth Travel Awards last year for customer service, because we work really hard at making sure our travelers are looked after and get the best experience possible. It’s a reflection of our excellent reviews, which drive us to keep on designing new tours and expanding the business into new areas. Who did we come second to, I guess you want to know? None other than Harry Potter studios, so no comparison there! For me personally I think the biggest achievement is being able to say that Euroventure employs twelve full time employees (and counting), which means that we are creating jobs and upskilling people.
This one is easy… it was Euroventure’s 5th birthday and we had just hired three new staff (Richard, Tolly and Bogi). We invited them to come to Europa Park in Germany with the rest of the team to celebrate over a weekend. I had interviewed Bogi a few days before but she hadn’t actually started her job at Euroventure yet. I went ahead to the small town of Rust in the Black Forest to check in and sort everything out before everyone arrived, and I was texting some details to Bogi who was traveling down by train (of course) from the UK. Whilst describing how she had to find the accommodation I accidentally finished the message with a winky face, and nearly died of embarrassment!
All of them, seriously. I don’t tend to tell people not to go to places because everyone has a different experience of them, so instead I like to do the opposite and encourage anyone to go anywhere. If I have to pick some above the rest then I would go for Spain (the middle and the north is really undiscovered), Portugal for the same reason, and then somewhere in the Balkans like Albania or Bosnia.