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Photo: Travelport

Travelport boosts intellectual disability awareness

A new campaign urges travel agents to use a booking code to alert airlines about travellers who may need assistance.

Global travel tech company Travelport has launched a campaign supported by IATA to improve awareness and use of a booking code used by travel agents to alert airlines when a passenger has an intellectual or developmental disability and may need assistance.

It initiated the campaign after finding evidence of what it called exceptionally low use of the DPNA Special Service Request code on bookings made through its global distribution system.

The campaign coincides with the Special Olympics World Summer Games, due to take place in the United Arab Emirates on March 14-21, with the aim of changing perceptions, breaking down barriers and promoting inclusion.

The travel commerce platform has created a campaign webpage, travelport.com/travelunified, which provides guidance for agents on talking to clients about intellectual disabilities and what assistance is available.

Despite registering more than 250 million flight bookings through its global distribution system in 2018, and an estimated 200 million people worldwide having an intellectual disability, which is 2.6% of the global population, the code was used just 4,309 times (0.0015% of total flight bookings).

A poll of 136 of travel agents conducted by Travelport revealed that only 24% knew the code existed.

Huge campaign
Travelport hopes that the six-month campaign will reach more than 100,000 travel agents in over 30 countries.

It features electronic direct mails as well as ‘sign on alerts’ and graphical ‘prompts’ delivered via the Travelport Smartpoint tool, which is used by agents to find airline seats, hotel rooms and other travel bookings.

Content from the campaign will be displayed to travel agents more than 3.5 million times, it is estimated, making it one of the biggest digital media campaigns the company has ever executed.

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