RE-DEFINING ALL INCLUSIVE
As the UK’s fastest-growing travel company and Europe’s leading Florida holiday expert, we undertook the responsibility of creating a new Accessibility Programme. First, we began with twelve months of thorough research and development, and this is what we found:
• 51% of respondents with a disability said going on holiday was associated with stress, whilst 36% related it with frustration
• Negative experiences when booking or going on holiday have impacted 65% of disabled people’s attitudes towards travelling
• Nearly half (49%) of those surveyed have submitted an accessibility-related complaint, but for a fifth (21%) nothing was done about it
“These findings underlined the opportunity the travel industry has to make travel a better experience for the one in five individuals with disabilities in the UK,” said Harry Hastings, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Ocean Holidays whose son Rudy has a rare genetic condition called MCAHS1.
“It’s great to see niche holiday operators serving the needs of so many but we also believe that it’s time that more mainstream travel companies step up with a more inclusive approach to supporting people with disabilities and their families. As an industry, we have so much to do to vastly improve the holiday experience for people with disabilities. At Ocean Holidays, we are at the start of this journey, and we’ve taken steps to improve the experience across the board. We promise to do our best to provide people with disabilities the support they need to enjoy their dream holiday.”
Today, our customers can book holidays knowing that every additional need is taken care of – whether at the airport or in resort – by staff with an unrivalled knowledge of accessible options in the Sunshine State, all at no extra cost. The programme takes a holistic approach, covering everything from mobility, visual and hearing impairment through to cognitive challenges with accessibility champions in all areas of the business.
Nevertheless, we recognise that whilst we are the experts when it comes to travel, customers are the expert on their personal needs. That’s why our special assistance holiday programme puts customers in control: they tell us exactly what they want for a truly personalised package – they dream it, we design it.
We are also a registered member of the global Hidden Disabilities Sunflower network, and provide customers with a free Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard for their travels. This visual cue discreetly indicates to people that customers may need additional support, help or more time. Airport and attraction staff in the UK and US are trained to recognise the sunflower, making it a great way for customers to get the assistance they need to make their journey even more stress-free.