Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Start-up site takes sting out of stags and hens

Jonathan Gallagher (far left) and Sean Carty (second from right) with Mark Rooney and Victoria Clarke, who have been using the websites to organise stag and hen events
Jonathan Gallagher (far left) and Sean Carty (second from right) with Mark Rooney and Victoria Clarke, who have been using the websites to organise stag and hen events

Forget the 'L' plates and bunny ears – two young entrepreneurs from Northern Ireland have invested a six-figure sum into developing a new brand aiming to tap into the £5m hen and stag party market in the UK.

Jonathan Gallagher (28) from Co Fermanagh, and his Co Down business partner Sean Carty (28) have set up twin sites for both men and women after learning how the cost of such festivities has rocketed by 50-70% in the past five years.

Back in 2008, the average stag do cost just £91 while today it averages £195, providing a very attractive market opportunity for Northern Ireland's leisure and hospitality operators.

Never mind bars in eastern Europe or suffering hangover hell in Vegas, HenorStag.com and StagorHen.com are designed to show party organisers the entertainment, accommodation and activity options available across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The new venture was part-funded by South West Action for Rural Development (SWARD) and allows the organiser to easily uncover businesses and offers that they may never have known existed.

The site's main features include a 'party planner' which integrates with Facebook, content and images on party hotspots, hundreds of hen and stag-friendly providers, an ideas section and a party store.

Mr Gallagher said that the site will make things much easier for long-suffering pals of the bride and groom.

"For years now, the hen and stag industry has been operating behind closed doors with consumers finding it difficult to know exactly where to stay, play, dine or party," he said. "They have been left with no option but to use a package company to organise their trips. HenorStag.com is set to change all that for the better."

Mr Carty added: "The real beauty of HenorStag.com is that everything is booked directly with the destinations and businesses of your choice, meaning zero commission and a better value hen or stag party for everyone."

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