Touchstone shines a light on love and its many forms, by introducing you to Kerry Williams, founder of disability-friendly holiday and experience websites, Accessible Accommodation and Accessible Experiences to discuss how love helped to create her businesses.
How did you first get started in the industry?
It all started following a trip to Tasmania with my Mum. We checked into our accommodation and found the property was not as accessible as described as there was no way Mum could shower.
The trooper she is, Mum said ‘it’s OK, I’ll just hand-wash’ and it was one of those lightbulb moments that stuck with me as this was not acceptable. When I returned home, the moment was stuck in my brain and made me wonder just how many people had the same experience. Not wanting anyone else to go through the same ordeal, I set out to make a change.
It sounds like your Mum was a big inspiration behind the websites?
My Mum is everything to me. She is just the most amazing woman you’ll ever meet. I know we all say that about our Mum’s, but it’s true!
It was one of those things where my Mum was prepared to compromise and hand wash for a week, but she should never have to compromise. The ability to feel comfortable in our surroundings and experience new things is often something that can be taken for granted, and Mum showed me that and how I could make a difference in the lives of people with disability
What has the response been like from the people who have used your websites?
It’s the most thrilling part and is why I keep every single letter, email and comment that comes across my desk. Some families haven’t been on holidays since their children were born and didn’t think it was possible or that it would just be too hard.
We’ve had so many examples where people had just given up on ever having a holiday or trying a new activity, and when we show that they can, it just means the world. The level of excitement and joy from them is indescribable.
After the success of the Accessible Accommodation, you launched Accessible Experiences, was this always the plan?
No, at first, I just wanted to create a website for my Mum and anyone else with a disability, so they weren’t made to feel embarrassed or afraid on their holiday.
But we soon discovered that while it’s all well good to find accommodation, you also need things to do, especially if you’ve never been there before. The new website breaks down all the accessible activities on offer across Australia so that people with disability can enjoy new experiences just as much as anyone else.
For more accessible travel advice, follow CPL client Drew’s tips and tricks to finding the perfect holiday.