As a people-first organisation, Ocean Holidays operates in the belief that by looking after our employees, our customers will receive the very best service and travel experience. What’s more, we strive to create a respectful and empowering culture that makes it possible for everyone to thrive both in and outside of work.

In 2023, we’re proud to say that our principles culminated in us winning Employer of the Year at the Travel Weekly UK Globe Awards. This award is particularly special as this is our very first Globe Award. Whatever the future holds, it’s vital to us that we continue to listen and act on what our employees need to make them not only productive but happy too.

To help our business goals stay aligned with our people, we request regular feedback and hold monthly Town Hall sessions to discuss our past and future initiatives. These sessions include the ability for anonymous feedback to our senior leadership team, helping to create an equal platform for opinions. Throughout the year, we also host several events to help our employees build relationships, learn from each other and – just as importantly – have fun along the way.

Discover Our Culture

Learning and Development

We passionately believe in developing all our employees to their full potential. This is achieved with frequent training both in-house and externally with some of the industry’s leading brands. All new starters embark on a full induction course and have access to quarterly learning events.

Furthermore, we sponsor staff members in pursuit of professional qualifications, have had a long-standing commitment to the government Apprenticeship Scheme and more recently utilised the KickStart Scheme to provide job opportunities for young people.

One Ocean Forum

The One Ocean Forum is a platform where our employees can be heard. It is made up of a group of representatives across all departments of the business, and their role is to represent the interests of all employees through regular meetings, raising any requests or ideas with the Management Team.

Another key responsibility of the One Ocean Forum is the work we do with Haven House Children’s Hospice, our main charity partner. Each year we raise thousands of pounds, through fundraising events, and The One Ocean Forum does an incredible job of encouraging all staff to get involved and support this cause.

Our One Ocean Forum also get involved in organising company events such as our Summer and Christmas parties and our in-person Town Hall events.

Events and Communication

To keep all members of the business informed with key updates, we have a monthly Town Hall meeting, led by Co-CEO Harry Hastings and featuring guest speakers from across the business. There is also a bi-weekly newsletter filled with everything from business news and new starter introductions to mental health check-ins and family pictures.

Throughout the year, we also host several events to help our employees build relationships, learn from each other and have fun along the way. In the past, these events have included Christmas and Summer parties, quiz nights, and themed evenings with inspiring guest speakers from the travel industry and beyond.

Our People Stories

After completing a degree in Molecular Genetics at the University of Warwick in 2010, the last place I expected to find myself was working for a travel company. However, when the opportunity of uncapped earning potential presented itself, I jumped at it – and I have never looked back.

By chance, I ended up on a FAM trip to Florida within one week of joining the business, providing me with invaluable first-hand experience that I could use on the sales floor. Within 18 months, I was a Sales Team Leader and 18 months after that, Sales Manager, responsible for 30 team members.

Ocean Holidays has always advocated spotting and developing talent from within the business. Here, if you work hard and make it happen, you get to reap the rewards.

When I expressed an interest in becoming a Destination Manager, Ocean recognised the existing skills I could bring to the table and gave me another opportunity to prove myself. This experience proved invaluable, particularly in my next role two years later as Programme Manager, when in July 2020, I helped lead the launch of Ocean Florida Trade. After starting with just 1 person, 1 phone and 1 inbox – 3 years later we have a team of 15 amazing people (and growing), and we proudly deliver 20% of the revenue for the Ocean Holidays Group.

Now as Director of Sales I am able to help drive business across the whole Ocean Holidays Group. I look forward to what the next 10 years will bring, as we look to further expand Ocean Holidays, using cutting edge technology alongside the personal touch we are so famous for.

My little girl was only 4 months old when I interviewed for the role of Social Media and Community Management Executive at Ocean Florida. Until a friend and old colleague sent me the role description thinking I’d be a great fit, returning to work so soon after having a baby wasn’t ever on my radar, but sometimes opportunities come up that you have to grab them with both hands, and for me, this was one of them.

Ocean Holidays were aware of my family situation prior to me applying for the role, and they invited me to interview with an open mind. Although the position was advertised as full-time, I expressed my wishes to be considered on a part-time basis while my daughter was so small with the view to increasing my days over time, and to my surprise, I was offered the role!

My managers, Chris and Natalie, were very sympathetic to my circumstances and understood the need for me to have precious family time, but also supportive of my desire to dive into a new role, and have a chance to be ‘Zara’ again instead of just ‘Mummy’. Natalie and I figured out which days would be best for me to work based on the needs of the team and also around childcare, it was a real collaboration to ensure me taking on the role part-time worked for us both, and although I know I’m welcome to visit the office any time I like, I’m fully home based in Birmingham so I don’t have to factor in long commutes to and from work and miss out on bath times or early morning snuggles!

Over the last 6 months, I’ve never felt any pressure to increase the number of days I work before I’m ready to, though I know that when I do, I’ll be fully supported in my decision as I have been from the start of my journey with Ocean Florida.

Working for Ocean Holidays has been great, they have always been so supportive right from the time that I first joined them while doing some work experience here over 10 years ago. 

 They have encouraged me with my qualifications and supported me with study leave as well as funding for the courses. 

 They were very understanding and allowed me time off, and flexibility with my hours when a close family member was very unwell, that was something I really appreciated and just alleviated some of the worry. 

 The flexibility with home working has meant that I have been able finally purchase my first home, the ability to move further out from Romford has meant that I could look at properties that were within my budget and not have to do a long old commute 5 days a week. 

I joined Ocean Holidays as accounts apprentice in 2014 and in my 8+ years with Ocean I progressed through several different roles and gained diverse, hands-on experience which created natural progression to my current role of Management Accountant. 

Today I am qualified AAT Accounts Technician and have cleared 9 out of 13 ACCA exams towards becoming Chartered Certified Accountant. Studying and planning for exams is challenging, especially during busy periods at work. I self-study for all my exams so I must make sure I remain disciplined and keep my motivation high. I think continuing professional development is important part of expanding my knowledge and keeping professional skills up to date. 

Ocean Holidays and all my colleagues have been very supportive in my journey. In addition to selling great holidays, Ocean create great learning and development opportunities. 

I joined Ocean Holidays in December 2021 as a Trade Product Assistant for the Ocean Beds brand when I was just 19 years old. This opportunity presented itself through the government’s Kickstart Scheme, an initiative that provided funding for 16 – 24-year-olds in search of work.

Although I had always been unsure about which career was right for me, thankfully, my experience at Ocean Holidays has been everything I could ask for. I started without much knowledge of the travel industry, yet thanks to everyone being so welcoming and supportive, it wasn’t long before my confidence began to grow and grow.

After six months, I was made a permanent member of Ocean Beds and promoted to UK Reservations and Operations Executive. Plus, since Ocean Holidays is an accredited Living Wage Employer, I now receive the benefit of a Real Living Wage that currently equates to £25K a year as a minimum. In a cost-of-living crisis, this benefit makes all the difference. Yet better than financial certainty, I love working at Ocean Holidays because I can always trust them to believe in nurturing young talent, and I feel very fortunate that I have every chance of reaching my potential here.