Disabled agent calls for more ‘accessible’ travel facts

A disabled agent has called on operators for more accessible travel information for the trade having returned from only his third fam trip in 18 years.

Harry Wales, assistant manager at Viceroy Travel in West Wickham, Kent, made the plea for more information in brochures and a central resource after a recent US educational with Premier Travel.

Wales, who has muscular dystrophy and uses two walking sticks and a wheelchair, said: “Operators should be more proactive and include more information in brochures. Why not tell us how wide the doors are?

“Recommending a hotel for someone with additional needs could be the difference between a booking or not; it’s not rocket science.

“It’s an untapped market but agents need more answers and training. We’ve lost bookings because operators cannot guarantee accessible rooms.”

Premier introduced details on adapted rooms in its short-haul brochure last year, while since September 2018, Tui has labelled properties ‘suitable’ for clients with reduced mobility – including step-free access and adapted rooms on request – or ‘not suitable’.

Premier sales and marketing director Debbie Goffin said more accessibility booking advice for agents was needed. “The best way to incorporate this is a few lines in brochures and on websites next to specific resorts or hotels,” she said.

Tui is compiling information on 60 accessibility features at hotels, such as pool access. A spokeswoman said: “We are working on [making] finding accessibility information easier.”

A spokesman for disabled holiday specialist Enable Holidays said: “A central hub for agents is sadly lacking.”

Abta already offers an accessible tourism e-learning tool and has practical guides for agents. It said: “Abta has been taking an active role in supporting members to help customers with accessibility needs.”

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