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Press Releases 2018

Hovertravel uses Christmas to kick start support for Admiral Nurse Appeal 19/12/18

Hovertravel’s Christmas Tree for 2018 has been decorated to raise awareness of Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Appeal on the Isle of Wight. This follows the announcement that Hovertravel will be focussing their fund-raising efforts on the Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Appeal on the Isle of Wight for 2019.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, said: “Admiral Nurses are an essential part of the dementia care on the Isle of Wight and we will be helping to ensure that a much better understanding of their role and its importance is achieved, not just across the Island but also around the Solent. Decorating our Christmas Tree with Dementia UK provides an excellent focal point for the start of our campaigning and provides a useful talking point for our staff.”

There are just five Admiral Nurses, hosted at both the Mountbatten Hospice and St. Mary’s Hospital, to support families on the Island facing dementia. Hovertravel will conduct its own fund-raising activities, look to facilitate others’ fund-raising initiatives and generate greater awareness of these specialist professionals who provide support, expert guidance and practical solutions.

Loretta added: “Our first fund-raising event for the new year has just been revealed, with a non-stop cycle, during our operational hours on Wednesday 16th January in our Ryde terminal. So, from 0600 to 2100, our team will take turns to keep pedalling and encouraging donations. Please come along to help this very worthy local cause and give our engineers, crew, cashiers, management and pilots your wholehearted support.”

Apprentice success awarded to Hovertravel 05/12/18

Hovertravel has won the Morris Barton Apprenticeship Business of the Year Award at the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Business Awards for Excellence.

“We are very proud to be recognised for this prestigious award and believe that we are all winners, including all those who entered, our fellow finalists and, most obviously, all the apprentices themselves”, said Julie Horrocks, Head of Ground Operations at Hovertravel.

This award, sponsored by multi-disciplined property practice Christopher Scott, looked for a strong commitment from a business to developing their staff with apprenticeship training. Judges were especially keen to see evidence that businesses that are investing in their teams and praised Hovertravel for taking on school leavers as apprentices. Hovertravel was able to clearly demonstrate how it has made apprenticeships a key element of their growth strategy, both at individual level as well making a significant contribution to the success of the operation. There were four finalists, including the Isle of Wight Council.

Julie adds: “We are proud to say that 93% of those who completed the apprenticeship programme are now in full time employment with Hovertravel. The company continues to see considerable value from the passion so many of these individuals have brought to our business as well as allowing us the extra manpower to offer additional services to our customers to improve the customer experience.”

Hovertravel apprentices have had several successes including running a program of newly introduced excursion trips to the Hovercraft Museum, celebrating the very British invention of the hovercraft but also creating a business case for a product that continues to grow today. Our apprentices have also been deeply involved in initiatives such as HoverCare which is helping to make cross-Solent travel easier for all customers.

Hovertravel is a unique business which offers development opportunities for its apprentices that benefit the company and, just as importantly, provide excellent experience to advance the individuals’ future career aspirations, either at Hovertravel or elsewhere.

 

Hovertravel launches Dementia Awareness initiative - 19/11/18

Hovertravel is delighted to be giving support to Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Appeal on the Isle of Wight for the year 2019. Currently there are five Admiral Nurses appointed on the Isle of Wight who support families facing dementia. The Admiral Nurses are hosted at both the Mountbatten Hospice and St. Mary’s Hospital in Newport. Hovertravel has announced that it is embarking on this new initiative to support the provision of Admiral Nurses on the Isle of Wight and raise awareness of these specialist professionals who provide support, expert guidance and practical solutions.

As well as facilitating fund raising and generating awareness, Hovertravel has conducted Dementia awareness training with its staff to increase knowledge of dementia and understand how person-centred approaches can support people traveling with the condition.

Hovertravel is planning a series of events over the next twelve months and will position the charity’s branding in key marketing locations such as terminal screens, craft screens and as advertising banners in customer emails, Hovertravel will promote awareness of this worthy cause to their passengers, who have always proved to be generous in their support for local charities.

Lady Sally Grylls adds: “It is tremendously encouraging for families on the Isle of Wight who are coping with the challenges of dementia that Hovertravel are giving their public endorsement to Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse I of W Appeal by selecting Dementia UK as Hovertravel’s chosen charity for the year 2019. Admiral Nurses serving in the community are hosted at both Mountbatten Hospice and St. Mary’s Hospital. They offer a life-line to many people. So, thank you Hovertravel.”

New Hoverbus livery celebrates Portsmouth - 08/11/18

Hovertravel and Stagecoach South have unveiled the new image for the Hoverbus. The design uses the iconic skyline of Portsmouth’s landmarks and incorporates the union flag motif from the hovercraft’s own livery to create a unique look. Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, explains: “We wanted a design which would be instantly recognisable for customers familiar with Portsmouth and which would also show the unique skyline of the city for visitors from further afield.”

Hovertravel's Hoverbus is the perfect way to connect from the train stations in Portsmouth to the hovercraft. The Hoverbus can take you to and from the Hoverport at Southsea Esplanade for your quick hovercraft flight to the Isle of Wight and it can also take you around Portsmouth & Southsea.

The Hoverbus conveniently stops at The Hard Interchange which is ideal for connecting travel by buses, trains at Portsmouth Harbour Station and coaches and the Gosport Ferry. This makes visiting Portsmouth’s attractions much easier including the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyards, Spinnaker Tower as well the cinema, restaurants and shopping at Gunwharf Quays.

"We are really pleased to be continuing our partnership with Hovertravel. We feel the new bus branding not only looks great and compliments the new hovercraft fleet, but provides passengers with the recognisable Hovertravel image from the very beginning of their journey from Southsea to Ryde on the Isle of Wight." Stacey Churton, Marketing Manager at Stagecoach South.

Hovertravel announces new winter timetable - 30/10/18

Hovertravel has announced its new winter timetable, which sees the continuation of the 30 minute service for morning and evening commuting periods and the return of the hourly winter service outside of peak times.

The new timetable has been created, following a comprehensive review of the complete business, which assessed all areas of Hovertravel, including reliability, the operation, the customers and the effective use of the resources.

By continuing the 30 minute timetable, Hovertravel can fully utilise its two craft fleet to help manage the peaks and troughs which all transport business face when operating an intensive, daily service. To maintain our two craft fleet, however, we need to finish the current engineering tasks on Solent Flyer which is expected back at the end of November and then make the same modifications to Island Flyer which will be completed by March 2019.

The review also looked at more efficient customer communications, enhancing our on-time performance and how we interact with the local communities on both sides of the Solent.

HoverCare introduces customer cards for enhanced customer service - 15/10/18

Hovertravel is developing its HoverCare initiative with the introduction of new customer cards to help provide a more tailored and personalised service for its customers. The HoverCare card will also act as identification for discounted HoverCare for on-going travel.

Neil Chapman, managing director at Hovertravel, says: “It has been over 12 months since we introduced the HoverCare initiative and we have run comprehensive training across all our teams to improve accessibility for all. In our most recent wave of training we are learning Makaton, Dementia Awareness and even some basic Makaton. These skills are put into practise every day in our operation and we wanted to make sure that our customers get the maximum benefit from these skills we have learnt.”

Hovertravel customers will be able to request a HoverCare card which will indicate whether they require help with luggage, are a lip reader, whether they need to be seated, or would like help boarding the craft. The HoverCare card can also, if the customer wishes, show that the holder has reduced mobility, autism, dementia, reduced vision or impaired hearing.

Carers can request a HoverCare Card if they are regularly travelling and may gain free of charge travel when they travel whilst providing care (on a 1 to 1 basis) to a person who has reduced mobility or who is entitled to disability care.

Neil adds: “By showing the HoverCare Card to our staff, our customers will receive any extra assistance they may need without even having to ask and can be confident that our teams are on hand to make sure each and every journey is the best it can possibly be. Come along to one of our coffee mornings, sign up for your card and see how we can provide assistance which is best suited to you.”

Cards can be requested in the terminals on production of the appropriate identification. Hovertravel’s forthcoming coffee morning sessions will run between 10am and 12noon and are planned for the following dates: Thursday 18th October, Monday 19th November and Wednesday 5th December.

For further information and details of eligibility please click here

Macmillan Coffee Morning at Hovertravel 28/09/18

Hovertravel is proud to support the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning for Macmillan on the world’s only year-round passenger hovercraft service. Throughout the morning of Friday 28th September, Hovertravel customers will be able to buy tea, coffee and cakes prior to boarding.

“The Macmillan Coffee Morning brings the nation together to collect donations for a very worthy cause,” explains Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, “We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to get involved as they travel with us. Our HoverTrolley crew will be serving as many passengers as they can with hot drinks and a range of baked goodies, hoping to collect as much money as possible before the short flight.”

Hovertravel adds next level to HoverCare initiative - 10/09/18

Hovertravel is celebrating the anniversary of the highly regarded HoverCare initiative by announcing major enhancements to its customer assistance provision. HoverCare was launched last September with the first ever age simulation training on a hovercraft, in conjunction with Barclays Accessibility Team.

“The response to HoverCare over the past year has been extremely positive,” explains Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, “This initiative was originally planned to bring all our customer assistance provisions under one banner and strengthen our skills base for persons of reduced mobility. We are now adding the next level of training and looking to learn from how other organisations are upskilling their workforces.”

Hovertravel is training its staff to understand and appreciate a broad range of issues including autism, loss of sight, loss of hearing and dementia awareness. With help from leading experts in each of these fields, the teams at Hovertravel are becoming more skilled in providing meaningful assistance to a broader range of customers. Hovertravel is working with specialist trainers from a diverse set of organisations such as Edinburgh Airport, Medina School’s Makaton training, Admiral Nurses, Dementia UK and the Guide Dogs for Blind, seeking insights into best practice as it is applied as well as learning the fundamental principles.

In addition to this internal tuition programme, Hovertravel is planning a series of themed coffee mornings to give customers the opportunity to see the HoverCare initiative in action and to familiarise themselves with the terminals.

Loretta continues, “With our staff training underway, we wanted to dedicate a series of morning sessions to customers, so they can ask questions, explore the facilities at the terminals and learn how Hovertravel can make their journey as straightforward as possible.”

The two-hour planned coffee morning sessions will run between 10am and 12noon and planned for the following dates:

Wednesday 19th September - Autism Awareness

Thursday 18th October - Support for Sight

Thursday15th November - Dementia Awareness

Wednesday 5th December - Support for Hearing

Although there is a theme for each event, all are welcome to attend any dates and if you cannot attend a specific date, please come along to one of the other sessions. There is more information on HoverCare here

Hovertravel late services for Victorious are selling out fast - 23/08/18

Hovertravel's late services for the Victorious Festival are proving even more popular this year, as Islanders take advantage of the closest and fastest way to get to this event.

‘Last year we sold out on nearly all our late services for the Victorious Festival weekend,” says Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel “Operating this late gives the island community the flexibility to enjoy the complete Victorious experience and still get home quicker than any other route.”

“Plus, if anyone wishes to enjoy a longer evening on the Isle of Wight, the extra services from Ryde provide an ideal opportunity to indulge in a later night, too”

All the additional services are on sale now; online at www.hovertravel.com, on Hovertravel’s free smartphone app and in both the terminals.

Friday

From Southsea: 2230, 2300, 2330, (Saturday) 0000 and 0030

From Ryde: 2245, 2315, 2345 and (Saturday) 0015

Saturday

From Southsea: 2230, 2300, 2330, (Sunday) 0000 and 0030

From Ryde: 2245, 2315, 2345 and (Sunday) 0015

Sunday

From Southsea: 2230, 2300, 2330, (Monday) 0000 and 0030

From Ryde: 2245, 2315, 2345 and (Monday) 0015

Hovertravel shortlisted in national travel awards - 17/08/18

Hovertravel has been announced as one of ten finalists in the Travel Trade Gazette’s LGBT awards. This year’s most LGBT-friendly travel company category is hotly contested with global brands such as Celebrity Cruises and All Nippon Airways competing alongside Manchester Airport and the Thomas Cook Group.

“We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this award and delighted to be recognised for our efforts to support the LGBT community.” Explains Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, “On our hovercraft and across our business, all are welcome and we celebrate diversity. For the last two years we have been passionate sponsors of Isle of Wight Pride and this year we were hovering proud in the London Pride Parade. To be in the final with these famous travel companies demonstrates how the team at Hovertravel work together to support all their customers.”

For 2018, Hovertravel fully supported Isle of Wight Pride’s bid to host UK Pride 2018. The success of this bid gave Hovertravel the opportunity to build on their involvement with a broad variety of activities.

On Saturday 7 July, Hovertravel represented Isle of Wight Pride in the London Pride Parade. The 30,000 parade participants were watched by an estimated 1 million plus people. Hovertravel’s engineering truck was transformed from an everyday workhorse into a fabulous manifestation of a working hovercraft, complete with skirt, propeller ducts and some specially adapted marine technology. Emblazoned with Hovertravel’s distinctive union flag livery, this float carried 12 people including its own dedicated DJ. The all-white uniforms, including boiler suits for engineers, were given a Pride flourish with rainbow detailing on sleeves and the pilots’ epaulettes.

Hovertravel is fastest and closest flight to Isle of Wight Pride - 16/07/18

Hovertravel will be once again be landing on Ryde beach, next to this weekend’s Isle of Wight Pride.With a ten‐minute flight from Southsea, Hovertravel’s VIP charter will not only get you to the event quicker than any other ferry, but you will also be hosted on your short journey by one of Pride’s favourite performers, the infamous Miss Jason.

Miss Jason will be hosting hovercraft flights to Ryde from Southsea starting from 11am as well as flights directly to the festival venue on the beach from both Lee‐On‐Solent at 1300 and Southsea at 1405. Hovertravel has also organised extra services to fly Pride fans back to the mainland after the event, with the last craft leaving Ryde at 2315.

Hovertravel promotes unique experience for corporate awaydays - 12/07/18

12/07/2018

Hovertravel is using the Portsmouth Expo to promote its exciting flights to local and regional businesses. With a speed of up to 30 knots Hovertravel can offer a unique experience for corporates looking to host their clients, organise team building events or launch new products in the Solent region.

“Hovertravel is well-known amongst the business community for being the fastest way to a meeting on either side of the Solent. Estate agents, solicitors, and regional managers for global brands all use us on a regular basis,” explains Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, “We are at the Portsmouth Expo today to talk about how we can help with corporate events and with over 500 businesses attending, this is a brilliant event to showcase how Hovertravel could enhance your next company conference or awayday.”

In the past Hovertravel has been involved in new car press launches for Hyundai, team awaydays for several corporate brands and hovercraft themed events for the Bentley Owners Club. With the ability to land on beaches and landing spots across the Solent and as the only year-round passenger hovercraft service in the world, Hovertravel will excite colleagues, guests and customers of any business.

Loretta adds: “Hovercraft are very engaging, and we know from previous corporate events, the craft become the major talking point for any event. Even the owners of the oldest and newest Bentleys were excited to travel on our hovercraft, see inside the cockpit and chat to our pilots. We recently took members of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce from Southsea to Lee-on-Solent for a private tour of the Hovercraft Museum.”

For more details about Hovertravel’s corporate event options please contact us on Media@hovertravel.com

Proud to be hover-ing in London Pride Parade - 04/07/18

Hovertravel is proud to be part of the UK’s largest Pride Parade this weekend and, with a unique Hover Float, is claiming that this is the first time a hovercraft will have been seen in London since 1963.

“Thanks to our friends at Isle of Wight Pride, with whom we have worked very closely for two years, a hovercraft will once again float through London,” says Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, “Our engineering team has worked with great passion and vision to create this unique spectacle and some of our crew have even produced an extra-special uniform for all our volunteers on the day.”

Hovertravel’s engineering truck has been transformed from an everyday workhorse into a fabulous manifestation of a working hovercraft, complete with skirt, propeller ducts and some specially adapted marine technology. Emblazoned with Hovertravel’s distinctive union flag livery, this float will carry 12 people including its own dedicated DJ. The all-white uniforms, including boiler suits for engineers, have been given a Pride flourish with rainbow detailing on sleeves and the pilots’ epaulettes.

Neil continues: “We are absolutely thrilled to be in London for Pride this year. Promoting diversity, whether in our capital city or on the Isle of Wight, is important for everyone at Hovertravel and we are champions for inclusivity in the workplace and beyond.”

Hampshire businesses take flight on a hovercraft - 29/06/18

Hovertravel partnered with The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce to organise a hovercraft themed event for chamber members. Starting with the opportunity to experience a flight on the world’s only passenger hovercraft service and including a visit to world’s only hovercraft museum, members were given an opportunity to see both the history and future of this innovative form of transport.

“Hovertravel has linked the two communities of the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth for half a century,” explains Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel,” We are a showcase for the latest developments in hovercraft technology and with 70 plus crossings a day, our craft are used by tourists, commuters and business travellers. This visit by the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce gave us the chance to show off the speed, comfort and flexibility of our current operation, as well as placing our business in the context of the history of hovercraft.”

The Hampshire Chamber of Commerce helps businesses become more successful by providing businesses in Hampshire with networking opportunities, business support and advice as well as a great range of products and services. This is a membership organisation, owned and managed by local businesses.

Founded 1987 as a registered charity, the Hovercraft Museum Trust is the world’s greatest collection of hovercraft archive, film, and historic craft, dating back to John Thonycroft’s 1870 air lubricated boat models and the then Dr. Cockerell’s 1955 annular jet experiments.

Hover Hostess with the mostess! - 27/06/18

Miss Jason is lifting up her skirts to host exclusive trips to next month’s Isle of Wight Pride On the Beach with Hovertravel. The iconic drag persona Miss Jason will be meeting, greeting and entertaining hovercraft passengers travelling to this unique event located on Ryde beach on the isle of Wight.

“I enjoyed myself so much last year, both on the hovercraft and being carried across the sands by the crew, that I thought I should extend my act to all the people hovering over the Solent” explains Miss Jason, “And the hovercraft is the most stylish way to arrive, just ten minutes of super quick flight and then landing directly on the beach.”

Miss Jason will be bringing her own style to Hovertravel on Saturday 21 July, adding colour, wit and the opportunity for a selfie with one of Pride’s favourite performers. As official UK Pride host, Isle of Wight Pride has a fabulous line-up including include Conchita Wurst, Gok Wan DJing , Lady Gaga and Dolly Parton tribute acts and award-winning cabaret artist Danny Beard. Best of all, this festival is on the beach where the Pride Village offers food, drinks and market stalls, as well as an acoustic stage and family friendly areas.

Miss Jason will be hosting hovercraft flights to Ryde from Southsea starting from 11am as well as flights directly to the festival venue on the beach from both Lee-On-Solent at 1300 and Southsea at 1405. Hovertravel has also organised extra services to fly Pride fans back to the mainland after the event, with the last craft leaving Ryde at 2315.

Hovertravel helps to improve accessibility for all - 11/06/18

Hovertravel has become a supporter of Euan’s Guide. This website which features accessibility reviews from people of reduced mobility and aims to empower all by providing information that will give confidence and choices for getting out and about.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, explains: “When we launched our HoverCare initiative last year, Euan’s Guide was extremely helpful in providing advice and expertise. We wanted to return the favour by providing a small measure of financial support. With Euan’s Guide you can search and get ideas and inspiration for new accessible places to visit and once you’ve been, you can give your feedback, so helping millions of future visitors.”

Euan’s Guide is an alternative to hours of web searching and phone calls and, most importantly, removes the ‘fear of the unknown’ when visiting somewhere for the first time. As well as tourism and entertainment venues, Euan’s Guide feature accessibility reviews of any place visited as part of everyday life such as supermarkets, restaurants, railway stations and many more places. Users can rate areas such as transport & parking, toilets, staff and upload photos to help describe their experience to others.

Hovertravel upgrades user group - 21/05/18

The Hovertravel Users Group (HUG) is celebrating eight years of success by broadening the panel of customers involved and publishing its terms of reference.

Hovertravel’s Head of Ground Operations, Julie Horrocks explains: “We started the HUG back in 2010 and it has since been copied by other transport operators as well as being a highly useful way for Hovertravel to structure feedback from its customers. This feedback has been used to improve communication and enhance the service Hovertravel provides.

The HUG also allows Hovertravel to disseminate complex information by informing the HUG members who then in turn cascade the communication throughout the customer base.”

With several new members representing school children, parents, local councils and the less abled, Hovertravel is looking to add additional members to the HUG to ensure more types of customer are represented. The HUG would welcome commuters from the mainland and the more occasional leisure user.

Over the past eight years, the HUG has raised issues which Hovertravel has then improved including: better information on service status messages, the handling of groups, priority boarding during festival season and timetable changes to ensure better onward connections.

Julie adds: “We do ask people to apply so we can ensure a balanced and constructive discussion. The time commitment is very small – just two hours in the evening four times per year. To provide transparency, Hovertravel publishes the minutes on its community board in the terminals and will also be putting the minutes on its website.”

If you would like to apply to join the HUG please contact media@hovertravel.com

Bye Bye Blues - 04/05/18

Hovertravel has been a long-term supporter of the Tom Prince Cancer Trust’s Blue Day, partly because with one of our terminals in Southsea, our team has always wanted to show their support for this very worthy local charity.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel, explains: “Hovertravel is not just a cross-Solent ferry operator, we link two communities and we take our responsibilities to those communities very seriously. We are approached by charities every week and whilst we do what we can for these requests, we have been supportive of Blue Day for many years. From an invasion of Smurfs to blue wigs and blue face-painting and the infamous blue morph suit, our staff have ensured that Blue Day is highly enjoyable for us and our customers as well as raising funds for the Trust.

Reaching the £1 Million target is a huge success and whilst we are slightly sad that this is the last ever Blue Day run by the Tom Prince Cancer Trust, we would like share our best wishes with everyone who has been involved in the previous events and say congratulations to the organisers of this fantastic charity initiative.”

Hovertravel announces new Priority Boarding Areas -13/05/18

This morning we launched a new Priority Boarding area at each terminal. Customers at both Ryde and Southsea will see a line to the left of the boarding gates which is where they will be invited to board.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel says, “We are always looking for ways to enhance the service we give to customers and as well as listening to our passengers, we also regularly review how other transport businesses add value to their regular travellers. We have introduced our new priority boarding areas, so we can ensure our loyal and regular customers enjoy the best possible experience with us.”

Hovertravel’s Priority Boarding areas will allow season card and travel card holders to simply head to the priority boarding line every day and, in the event of a shuttle service, Priority Card holders will take priority where seats permit. Additionally, the area will be used for Hovercare customers who have pre-booked Hovercare assistance.

It is important to note that these benefits only apply to customers who have booked on a flight, as Priority card holders not booked on a service will not be boarded in place of other passengers who are booked and in the terminal.

This morning we launched a new Priority Boarding area at each terminal. Customers at both Ryde and Southsea will see a line to the left of the boarding gates which is where they will be invited to board.

Loretta Lale, Head of Commercial at Hovertravel says, “We are always looking for ways to enhance the service we give to customers and as well as listening to our passengers, we also regularly review how other transport businesses add value to their regular travellers. We have introduced our new priority boarding areas, so we can ensure our loyal and regular customers enjoy the best possible experience with us.”

Hovertravel’s Priority Boarding areas will allow season card and travel card holders to simply head to the priority boarding line every day and, in the event of a shuttle service, Priority Card holders will take priority where seats permit. Additionally, the area will be used for Hovercare customers who have pre-booked Hovercare assistance.

It is important to note that these benefits only apply to customers who have booked on a flight, as Priority card holders not booked on a service will not be boarded in place of other passengers who are booked and in the terminal.

Stephen Morgan MP visits Hovertravel to meet apprentices - 23/04/18