Romford-based holiday provider, Ocean Florida, celebrates one year of its accessible travel initiative, with 1,000 bespoke bookings driving £8m in sales.
With data showing one in five are living with a disability in the UK¹, the villa holiday expert launched its accessible travel initiative in November 2022. One year on, it helped tailor 1,000 dream holidays to the sunshine state, generating over £8 million of sales for the Florida Specialist.
As part of the launch, the holiday provider, which is part of the Ocean Holidays Group, ran a survey to reveal over half (51%) of respondents with a disability associate going on holiday with stress, while 36% associate travel with frustration.²
To help reduce stress for disabled travellers, customers who book directly with the Orlando and Florida experts, as well as travel agents who use the service, now have access to uniquely-trained specialists, who work directly with the customer to tailor their trip to their individual needs.
Considering hearing and visual impairments, as well as disabilities impacting mobility and cognitive function, customers can secure accommodation, travel and attraction itineraries best suited to them. For example, those with mobility needs can expect accommodation with widened doorways, hoist-entry pools and walk-in showers, as well as wheelchair accessible beaches, airline assistance and local transfers. Alternatively, there are options for autism-certified hotels and parks with low sensory areas with specially trained staff available for those with cognitive needs.
Customer feedback conducted throughout the first year of the initiative however, shows booking the trip is only half the potential stress. To help tackle that challenge, customers can now expect to be assigned a dedicated accessibility coordinator, who will reach out 4-6 weeks prior to travel, to ensure a smooth journey.
To celebrate one year of the initiative, Ocean Florida has partnered with Visit Florida and influencers Hannah and Becky Cheetham, who run Cheethams with dreams on Instagram, to further highlight the sunshine state as an accessible holiday destination.
Hannah, who has cerebral palsy, her sister Becky, and their mum and dad will all embark on their own dream holiday this November, including access to the Kennedy Space Centre, Universal as well as heading to St. Pete Clearwater on Florida’s Gulf coast, for some family beach time.
Not only do all customers have access to agents with unique accessibility training, the holiday provider has also invested in its website to provide a content hub of information, designed to help customers streamline their personal travel experience.
Lindsey Brumby, Accessibility Co-ordinator at Ocean Florida comments: “As someone with a disability myself, I’m personally really proud of this initiative. Not only does it help all customers have the holiday of their dreams, it also puts the customer in complete control. This is particularly important because everyone’s experience with disability is different and unique to them, and everyone should be able to build a holiday specifically designed to them and their needs.”
Director of Product and Commercial at Ocean Florida, Anna-Maria Janssen adds: “We’re so proud of this initiative here at Ocean Florida, and are thrilled to say we’ve helped over 3,500 people with unique requirements to book their dream holiday in the first year. We truly believe everyone deserves to travel comfortably and without stress, no matter what.
“It’s crucial for travel agents and holiday providers to not be fearful of accessible bookings, which is why we invested in training our accessibility champions, to ensure they have the skills necessary to give all customers the best experience possible. We’re thrilled with the success of this program so far, and will continue to learn and develop the initiative as we help more and more customers book their dream Florida holiday.”
For more information on accessible holidays, visit: https://www.ocean-florida.co.uk/accessible-holidays/, or to speak with an accessibility trained agent, make an enquiry today.