Accessible Travel Consultancy Services supports businesses, including travel and leisure providers, by helping them to understand why disability inclusion matters and how it can create environments, processes and procedures that encourage seamless inclusion to be enjoyed by all. Understanding the needs and requirements of your disabled customers is key to providing a superior customer experience.
There are currently in excess of 14 million people in the UK living with a disability and families who have at least one disabled member are said to have a spending capacity in the region of £250 billion.
People in the UK living with disabilities are a constantly growing consumer market and require products and services which are disability inclusive. As the prevalence of disability is expected to rise, society and also businesses need to consider accessibility and inclusion as a means of future-proofing products and services for customers. Recent studies confirmed that 87% of people with disabilities travel with at least one other person, representing a significant opportunity for aviation and holiday providers to expand their markets.
Inclusivity therefore, is not only the right thing to do, but it is also better for the bottom line. A recent Deloitte LLP study found that inclusive organisations are eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. Yet often disability inclusion is ignored, or overlooked, simply due to naïveté or lack of awareness. Or even because of a fear of the unknown or concerns about doing the right thing – and how.
That is why Accessible Travel Consultancy Services can provide access to a team of individuals who have collectively run, operated and experienced accessibility in transport and leisure, as well as other sectors within the commercial world. Who between them have a comprehensive understanding and experience of disability and accessibility first-hand. Services and experience set are broadly arranged into three key areas: End user, Expertise, and Insight. Enabling them to deliver a broad and comprehensive range of solutions for you to better engage and optimise your disabled customers` experience.
We understand that Accessibility can mean different things to different people and is dependent upon the barriers each individual faces. Whereas Inclusivity refers to products and services that are not only accessible but appealing to use and make people feel valued and ‘included’. It also enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued, for who they are and for their contributions toward organisational and societal goals.
We want to create experiences for your customers that are both accessible and inclusive – practical, pleasurable to experience, and represent the same opportunities for all consumers. To do this our team draws upon their considerable years of knowledge and experience, both of disability and the Travel and Leisure sectors. Adopting a compassionate and pragmatic approach, combined with a sound knowledge and understanding of the appropriate legislation and guidance. Examples of which are below:
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- Equality Act 2010
- Package Travel Regulations 2018
- Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006 – Rights of Persons with Reduced Mobility when Travelling by Air
- ECAC.CEAC Doc No. 30 (PART I) Section 5
- Americans With Disabilities Act 1990
- U.S. Department of Transport 14 CFR Part 382 – Non-discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel
- ISO (International Standards Organisation) Accessibility Guidelines
Who We Are
Background and approach
Accessible Travel Consultancy Services (ATCS) is a one-stop shop for disability awareness and support. It evolved from its sister company, Accessible Travel & Leisure (ATL), which was established in the late 1990s. Starting life as a tour operator ATL soon became the UK’s leading specialist provider of holidays for disabled travellers and their families.
The company was created to enable predominantly less-mobile holidaymakers travel overseas with more dignity and respect than they had previously been afforded. ATL’s mission was to overcome existing prejudice and ignorance, by better educating overseas hoteliers and transport suppliers on the merits of engaging and supporting the disability community. It provided them with a tangible business case demonstrating why they should embrace tourism for the disabled.
Following ATL`s success, Andy Wright (CEO) went on to assist the Aviation sector in supporting their efforts to improve services and facilities for their PRMs (Persons with Reduced Mobility). Evaluating the suitability and effectiveness of staff training modules, auditing infrastructure, and testing and challenging existing processes and procedures. Subject to results, Andy then proposed appropriate solutions for decision-makers. While at the same time, encouraging increased engagement with charities and disability organisations to strengthen their business by forging partnerships and collaborations within the local community.
ATCS was then formed in 2013 to continue supporting aviation, while at the same time expanding its portfolio to include other transportation organisations and holiday and leisure providers. ATCS aided those companies who wanted to better engage with their customers, who either struggled with their mobility or were wheelchair users. This also included supporting those with hidden disabilities, such as deafness and visual impairments. Or those who had been diagnosed with a mental health, cognitive or intellectual impairment.
“Andy has been a tremendous help and assistance to me in my role as Passenger Accessibility Manager at Virgin Atlantic… He’s also assisted us greatly with our cabin crew training on disability awareness… This video has received extremely positive feedback from everyone who has seen it…”
Geraldine Lundy, Passenger Accessibility Manager
“This is really excellent what a turnaround! Thank you Andy, appreciate all your help over the year…”
Ernie Patterson, Chairman
“I have had the great pleasure to work with Andy on a number of airport PRM projects and he has always provided excellent support and invaluable insights to our teams. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.”
Ed Bolton, Managing Director, Transport
Andy Wright, Chief Executive
Andy, a wheelchair user, has spent over 35 years in the Travel and Leisure sector, 20 years of those working for Accessible Travel & Leisure (ATL) – where he was a co-founder back in the late 1990s.
Andy has always been committed to providing equal opportunities for the disabled community and as a result of his time with ATL, has a full understanding of the many challenges faced by numerous disabled people when travelling and going on holiday.
Andy has used his experience as a wheelchair user and business owner, to initially help airports and airlines adapt and tailor their services for disabled travellers. He has also adopted the role of Disability Advocate/Ambassador for a number of UK airports – including Heathrow, Manchester, and Edinburgh – delivering practical guidance and advice to their staffing teams. Andy currently chairs 7 UK airport Consultative Committees, comprising of various charity and disability organisations, as well as representatives from aviation management teams.
Ali Parker, Consultant Partner
Ali has more than 20 years experience in tailoring holidays and travel arrangements for disabled customers, their families, and friends.
Operating as the General Manager of Accessible Travel & Leisure (ATL) and more recently as a member of Travel Councillors, Ali has been able to combine her own extensive travelling adventures through more than 50 countries, along with her involvement with ATL. She has established a unique insight and understanding of the needs of customers with complex access and mobility requirements.
Her many roles have included identifying and validating holiday properties, adjacent environments, and excursion venues, by auditing them to determine their accessibility and suitability for wheelchair users and less mobile travellers. As well as establishing connections and helping to train ground agents in resort, transport providers, mobility equipment providers, and local care agencies.
Jerry Angrave, Consultant Partner
Jerry has a real passion for customer experience within the corporate world. He has worked with Boards, leadership teams and managers to help create experiences that their customers want to repeat, share, and pay more for.
Jerry is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) and for years has been recognised as an established coach for the accreditation. He has worked for a number of blue-chip companies in senior CX roles around the world, in sectors that include aviation and travel, SaaS companies, utilities, pharmaceuticals, industrial manufacturers, as well as banking.
Jerry is also a member of the Heathrow Airport Accessibility Group and has a family connection with disability.
Zuzana Sedlackova, Consultant Partner
Zuzana started her career as a teacher in Slovakia, before moving to England with a view to improving her language skills.
During her time in the UK, she has undertaken a number of roles, one of which as a Personal Assistant /support worker for a disabled businessman. This position provided Zuzana with a unique insight into the daily routine of a wheelchair user, especially on occasions when she accompanied him on business trips both in the UK and overseas.
By utilising her teaching skills combined with her involvement as a PA, Zuzana can enrich staff training and disability awareness sessions with her distinctive awareness.