VisitEngland – an excellent source of small business support including information on the National Accessible Scheme (auditing scheme), developing access statements and on marketing to disabled travellers (including 'Speak Up! a guide to marketing your accessibility - authored by Access New Business)
Tourism For All the national charity which provides information to help disabled and older people travel
Scandic Hotels is a leader in developing fully accessible environments (see below) and in 'mainstreaming' accessible provision as part of the overall customer offer.
The BBC produces useful information for its staff on making websites accessible
Office for Disability Issues has a useful section on communicating to disabled people
Department for Business Innovation and Skills published ‘2012 legacy for disabled people: Inclusive and accessible business’ in August 2010, which outlines clearly the business case for attracting the disabled customer.
ABTA has produced an online toolkit called Accessible Travel Made Easy. It's free but you need to register.
Action on Hearing Loss provides lots of info on deaf awareness, offers a range of ‘deaf friendly’ equipment and runs good deaf training awareness.
Scandic Hotels hired its disability coordinator in 2003. He started by hiring three wheelchairs for the head office. Then he let all the team members, over 100 of them, spend time in a wheelchair to see life from that perspective. They passed the wheelchairs round the office for 3 months. Being in a wheelchair is just one of many disabilities, but it is an excellent way to get people discussing the issue. Just ten years later Scandic has the most inclusive approach to accessibility of any hotel chain.
'When we take over a hotel, we implement our accessibility programme within three months and, after just one year, we tend to notice more bookings from private guests and from companies and organisations. This gives us a clear competitive advantage as well as showing our commitment to social responsibility.' Magnus Berglund, Disability Ambassador at Scandic.The Sage Gateshead
Recognising the importance of good access for all conference and event organisers, the Sage Gateshead was designed and built to be accessible to all and has sought to go beyond compliance to become a model of good practice. The same high standards apply to access for visitors, performers and staff alike. As a result it has won a number of awards including the RIBA Inclusive Design Award in 2005.
This video, shot by Access New Business associate Mike Wright of Meridian AV for ONENorthEast, charts the preparation and delivery of the conference, MS Life (the National Multiple Sclerosis Conference) in 2009. It includes interviews with staff at The Sage, the outside event organisers, a representative of MS Life, the PR Company and the Hilton Hotel.
Brighton and Hove
The city council, supported by Tourism South East, were keen to improve information and facilities for disabled visitors, knowing that this would be of benefit to local people at the same time. It commissioned Brian Seaman to audit every aspect of the visitor experience in a pre-defined area, looking both on the ground and on-line to see whether there was sufficient information to enable disabled or older people or their families and friends to make an informed decision about travelling to the destination. Local contacts and key stakeholders such as the local Access Forum also provided their opinions.
Click here to view a link to the Access Audit document on the Brighton & Hove City Council website based on this work.
Ever since VisitBrighton commissioned the audit, they have been implementing the recommendations. There is now much more factual information on their website, www.visitbrighton.com/, about the city itself, Shopmobility, wheelchair and scooter hire, the physical environment, travelling, and public WC provision, plus accessible places to stay, eat and visit. There are also dedicated information sheets, which are freely available at the Visitor Information Centre, or are downloadable from their website.
VisitBrighton have been participating as part of VisitEngland’s first ever accessible destinations campaign during 2014.
Here are some other case studies from visitor attractions, self catering properties, hotels, theatres and restaurants. The case studies show how these businesses have gone about improving their accessibility and how this has increased their market.