This month, International Day of Persons with Disabilities was celebrated around the world. We have used this day to support clients in gaining a better understanding of the needs of people affected by a disability.
More than 1 in 6 people have an activity limiting health problem or disability in England and Wales. Yet over £3 billion pounds is spent each year in England alone by British and international visitors from this market. If you are not thinking about inclusivity, you should be!
Not only should it be part of your overall equality and diversity ethos, but at a time when sustainability in leisure and tourism is on everyone’s mind, it make sense to do everything to open up your attraction to as many markets as possible.
One thing we need to remember is: people with disabilities have the same range of preferences, perceptions, attitudes, habits and needs that drive consumer behaviour of people without disabilities.
We have put together 10 tips to help your business provide access for all.
- Communication is very important in making disabled people feel welcome. Be natural – smile and chat to your disabled customers just as you would with any other, and don’t push all communication through their family or carer.
- Make sure you give people the opportunity to let you know about any special requirements they may have. For example, include the line “Please let me know if you have any special requirements” as a standard sentence in telephone etiquette and letters.
- Recognise the diversity of the disability market. Understand that all disabilities are different and affect each individual differently. Do not assume that one size fits all. Keep an open mind about what persons with disabilities can or cannot do.
- Make sure all of your staff are comfortable and confident serving disabled people and can offer assistance without actually imposing it.
- Offer training to staff to develop an understanding of inclusivity and enhance their work practices.
- Promote the inclusivity of your business/attraction. Make sure access information is included on your website.
- Test your marketing approach and products with people who have disabilities. Develop promotional strategies that target disabled individuals and their family members.
- Direct mail is a very effective way to reach many. Braille or large type pieces would be effective targeting the blind or vision impaired. Include direct marketing via newsletters from national organizations, local newspapers, magazines and the internet.
- Avoid leaving clutter lying around, and make sure your setting access areas are wide enough for all types of mobility vehicles. Regular seating is important too.
- Work with what you have. Develop simple physical modifications to make existing services and products accessible.
For more information and support have a look at the following websites:
www.visitbritain.org/providing-access-all Accessibility Guides. A national scheme. Dedicated courses. A host of tips and advice to help you cater for visitors with accessibility requirements, a market worth £12 billion.’
www.tourismforall.org.uk Packed full of useful information including: training, access audit, destination advice audit, events and seminars
http://www.livingoptions.org/support-help/heritage-ability Heritage Ability is a project designed to support heritage sites to become more accessible. It is delivered by Living Options Devon and operates across the South-West.
If you need any help making your setting more accessible to all, do not hesitate to contact our Inclusivity Consultant Addy at firstname.lastname@example.org .