Accessibility is not niche. There are millions of travellers worldwide who, with their families and friends, are searching for places to visit and fun things to do in their leisure time. They just require a little more help in doing so.
Think of our aging population, growing faster than any other age group AND spending more on travel than any other age group. 30% of travel spending in 2015 was by the over 65s. But aging and the chance of an impairments such as poorer eyesight or back problems are directly linked. 43% of those over the state retirment age are registered disabled (Department for Work and Pensions, July 2014).
Indeed thare are over 12 million disabled people in the UK. Almost 1 in 5 people (19%) in the UK have an activity limiting health problem or disability. VisitEngland's report ‘The Purple Pound 2015’, shows that they and their travelling party spent £3.2bn on overnight trips and £8.5bn on day trips in 2015 in the UK alone. These trips account for 14% of the spend on all overnight trips and 20% of the spend on all tourism day visits!
Many of your existing customers are likely to be in that group but you may not realise this. Impairments such as hearing loss, arthritis, epilepsy and autism are invisible and people won’t typically tell you about them when they are booking.
Social expectations as well as the demands of an aging population mean that we expect access for all wherever we go. The fear of not having exactly the right facilities or of offending by using the wrong terminology is no longer a reason to avoid this market.
The good news for businesses wanting to target this market is that demand for accessible accommodation and activities outstrips the current supply. And that most businesses are accessible if only they knew it. Only around 5% of disabled people are wheelchair users. And all disabled people (just like everyone) value accurate information and customer service with a smile much more than vast investment in facilities that may not meet their needs.