Ocean Holidays Founding Story

In 2002, Daniel and David Ox established their travel company, which specialized in Florida and Dubai holidays. They soon became inundated with business, prompting Daniel to invest in the internet boom and launch BeatTheBrochure.com. Meanwhile, David’s bespoke approach was attracting high-net-worth clients, leading to the creation of Winged Boots, which remains a crucial component of the Ocean Holidays business today.

At the same time George and Harry Hastings had embarked on a similar journey with the establishment of their own company specialising in holidays to Florida. The two sets of brothers collaborated more frequently, with each honing their niche expertise, and eventually joining forces. By 2008, their combined companies were generating nearly £30 million in bookings annually.

Despite their success, they faced a significant setback when they discovered that their business partner had not paid them correctly and refused to hold board meetings. This issue went unnoticed due to their inexperience and busy schedules. In 2012, they faced a £1.8 million black hole, but rather than give up, they started anew with a people-first philosophy and sound financial footing, launching Ocean Holidays in 2013.

Today, the quartet lead the fastest-growing travel company in the UK, and their inspiring story is one of triumph over adversity. Their journey demonstrates that relationships, resilience, and persistence are essential ingredients for business success.

Ocean Holidays focuses on human contact instead of automated systems, and their people-first approach proved invaluable during the pandemic. While other travel companies were closing their call centres and furloughing their staff, Ocean Holidays retained 85% of their bookings and nearly all their employees. The
company doubled in size, and its 2020 revenues alone included £40 million from new customers. In 2021, they grew even further, with £77 million revenue from January to December.

The brothers at Ocean Holidays credit their success to their commitment to people, namely their employees and their customers. Their story serves as a reminder that resilience, persistence, and relationships are key to achieving business success, even in the face of adversity.

Our Founders

Harry Hastings – Co-CEO

Harry Hastings is one of the four founders of Ocean Holidays Group, one of the UK’s fastest growing travel brands, specialising in long-haul holidays and luxury travel.

For nearly 20 years Harry, alongside his brother George, has worked in the travel industry, specialising in selling holidays to Florida. As Co-CEO of Ocean Holidays, Harry has overseen the growth and expansion of the business from pages on Teletext to a company turning over more than £100mil a year.

Harry oversees all of the company’s business planning, managing commercial relationships as well as implementing the company’s people-first philosophy. Harry is a firm believer in taking a responsible, human-led approach to travel and believes trust in Oceans Holidays, both as an employer and as a consumer brand, is the secret to their success. This people-first philosophy led Ocean Holidays to double in size since 2019. Harry is passionate about fostering a supportive culture and embodies a leadership style which is both fun and purposeful.

Born and raised in Brixton, South London, Harry mostly splits his time between Ocean Holidays’ Romford headquarters and the Ocean Holidays Florida office. Husband to Nicola and father to 3-year-old Rudy, disabled due to a rare genetic condition, their family are long term supporters of Haven House children’s hospice in Woodford, Essex, which cares for children with life limiting or life-threatening conditions. As well as walks in Epping Forest with their cocker spaniel, Stella, Harry himself is a lifelong tennis player and played ice hockey in the UK and internationally until the age of 19 when he swapped his love for the game with travel, co-founding Ocean Holidays.

Daniel Ox – Co-CEO

Daniel Ox is one of the four founders of Ocean Holidays Group, the fastest growing travel company in the UK, specialising in long-haul holidays and luxury travel.

Daniel has been in travel for nearly 20 years and has a keen eye for spotting new opportunities and remaining ahead of industry trends. Daniel was an early adopter of tech in the travel sector, using it to create online package offerings. He launched BeattheBrochure.com back in 2004, with an eye on the internet boom.

Daniel has been integral to the success of Ocean Holidays, encouraging the business to invest in innovation and technology to deliver experiences other operators cannot compete with. While an advocate of harnessing cutting-edge technology, Daniel remains a staunch supporter of blending tech with the human touch – a hallmark of the Ocean Holidays approach.

Throughout his career, Daniel has won many awards, most notably he was a Finalist for Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Daniel spends his spare time with his family Gemma, Dylan & Primrose, and walking the dog, Buster. He remains passionate about all things innovation, start-up culture and technology trends, and loves travelling. As an avid West Ham fan, he cites Ocean Holidays’ sponsorship deal with the club as one of his best achievements.

David Ox – Managing Director, Winged Boots

David Ox is one of the four founders of Ocean Holidays Group, the fastest growing travel company in the UK, specialising in long-haul holidays and luxury travel.

Working in the travel industry for nearly 20 years, David has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in curating unique travel experiences and itineraries. As Managing Director of Winged Boots, a personalised travel management company, he specialises in luxury leisure and corporate travel.

Starting with his little black book of contacts, David worked hard to build a reputation founded on reliability and perseverance. The Winged Boots business grew thanks to word of mouth and recommendations. Today, Winged Boots’ network of high-net-worth clients trust David and his team with their holidays, knowing they will always go above and beyond to get the job done.

David encourages his team to embody a people-first, bespoke approach – treating each trip as if it were their own. They live by the mantra; “we make it happen: wherever, whenever, however and every time.”

In his spare time David enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf and travelling. He also dedicates much of his time to socialising with and entertaining Winged Boots clients – a key part of the job – many of which he considers to be good friends.

George Hastings, Managing Director Ocean Flights

George Hastings is one of the four founders of Ocean Holidays Group, the fastest growing travel company in the UK, specialising in long-haul holidays and luxury travel.

With nearly 20 years of travel experience, George started his career selling holidays to Florida alongside his brother, Harry. Now, the Ocean Holidays Group is turning over £75m a year. George is Managing Director of Ocean Flights, responsible for air product and inventories across all of the brands in the group. His key areas of responsibility include managing a specialist team that oversee an extensive range of product to fulfil the needs of all the different clientele served by Ocean Holidays. In addition, George is responsible for demonstrating a data-led approach to developing technology that can fulfil both sales and operational processes.

In his spare time, George loves to travel and spend quality family time with his two boys, Leo and Mylo.