Starting out?

Top tips to improve accessibility and to access new business

The most comprehensive source of information for any tourism business or destination looking to develop its accessibility are the VisitBritian/VisitEngland business development pages Providing Access For All.

Our top tips

  1. Develop an access statement - a simple explanation of your property, written in an unambiguous manner, with the needs of the less mobile or disabled in mind. Many disabled people go straight to the access statement before checking out any other web pages or literature.
  2. Remember that around 70% of disabilities are invisible. A recent report from Action on Hearing Loss estimates that hearing loss affects more than 10 million people in the UK, and this could reach 14.5 million people by 2031. There are simple solutions such as portable loop systems or clipboard with loop (both around £150) for your reception or restaurant.
  3. Is your signage really welcoming? ‘Route for wheelchairs’ (what about the people in them?) ‘Turn right for the disabled toilet’ (why is the toilet disabled?).
  4. Take a look at this free booklet called Easy Does It. Written for tourism and leisure businesses, it provides lots of suggestions including simple adaptations such as buying a vibrating clock with flashing lights (around £17) or lever adaptors, to make taps easier to turn (around £12 a pair).
  5. Employ staff who like people! And employ disabled people. Keeping your employee base varied will help you do the same for your customer base. A useful source of info here is the Business Disability Forum

Top tips on marketing your accessibility

  1. Present facts rather than assertions. Your customers will assess for themselves whether you are accessible or not.
  2. Run an accessibility check on your website. Accessible websites are around 50% faster to navigate for all audiences and accessible content is highly visible to search engines.
  3. Don't hide information away in pdf format. Pdfs can't easily be read by screen readers
  4. Disabled people are big users of social media. Get started on your online strategy straight away.
  5. Get feedback and stay in touch. Satisfied customers can be incredibly loyal. And don’t get too hung up by the terminology. Disabled people, if you meet their needs, become loyal visitors as well as great advertisements for your business.

There are some cost effective marketing ideas in VisitEngland’s Speak Up! - a free online guide designed to help tourism businesses market their accessibility to disabled travellers - written for VisitEngland by Access New Business.

Worried about legislation?

There is some useful guidance on the VisitEngland access pages including a simply written downloadable toolkit from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.