December 11, 2013
In my last blog I posed this question. But before answering it I need to explain what an accessibility statement is. This is what VisitEngland say on their website:“An Access statement is a description of a business’s facilities and services to inform people with access needs. Access Statements allow for a written, descriptive approach to providing a wide range of information on accessibility. All areas of a business are described from car parking and arrival to toilets. VisitEngland then give four good reasons to have an Access Statement:1. It is a minimum requirement for VisitEngland accommodation and visitor attraction quality scheme members.2. Can help you to meet your obligations under the Equality Act 2010.3. It provides a marketing opportunity that informs your visitors in one concise document.4. England's population is ageing and almost 1 in 5 people are disabled and many of those will have a carer.”When I am looking to make a booking I, like most disabled people, start on the Internet. I search on terms like accessible rooms in London or disabled rooms in Manchester. You get very interesting results or should I say lack of them.The next stage I carry out is looking at the suggested hotel I am thinking about staying at and see if I can find any information on accessibility. You will be amazed at the number of hotels and conference venues that don’t have any information at all. At this stage I move onto the next hotel and then the next until I find a possible venue to stay or visit when I am away. This can take some time. And the first hotels have no idea of what business they have lost. Remember my first blog question to you was – How many wheelchair users does it take to sell a conference for 200? The answer is one. In my search I could be looking for a one night stay, a weekend away or a conference for 200. All of these have a value and so I would suggest that an accessibility statement is a must for every hotel/conference venue.May I also suggest that every hotel general manager and conference manager should look at their venues to see if and how it welcomes a disabled guest? I suggest this not only gives you an idea of the general service you will experience but also and more importantly it shows how inclusive the hotel is. If they have more information on their website they are more likely to understand issues like: food intolerances and allergies; managing car parking spaces; providing menus that older people can read in a suitably lit restaurant or conference room; and having hand rails on stairs for older people with a mobility impairment.If you need any help producing an accessibility statement please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.