The Importance of Access Statements
An Access Statement is a comprehensive document that details the level of accessibility that your venue’s facilities and services provide, as well as travel guidance and information on the surrounding area.
They are important for all accommodation providers to supply as not only will it help your legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 but it can also broaden the attraction of your business to new markets. Rather than just being ‘some text’ at the back end of your website why not consider it as an invaluable tool to reach out to a huge market of potential customers who may not otherwise consider your business.
Within the UK alone, the Accessible Tourism market is made up of over 11 million people with a disposable income of £80 billion per year. But who are these people ?
They vary from the elderly in our ageing society to people with hearing, visual or mental impairment, from parents with pushchairs to those people in wheelchairs. A common misconception with access statements in that they are only there to help those in wheelchairs. Yet wheelchair users make up less than 8% of all disabled people in the UK; think about the other 92% and what information they might need. Also try not to make judgement calls as to who your business is and is not suitable for. For example, every wheelchair user has a unique set of needs. Some part-time wheelchair users may be able to negotiate steps and overcome a few barriers to enjoy the award winning food, excellent accommodation or unique visitor attraction you offer. So, instead of stating ‘we are not suitable for wheelchair users’, why not describe any potential barriers and then allow the customer to decide.
Aligning your business with the needs of the Accessible Tourism market does not mean you need to create an extravagant extension plan but it could be as simple as delivering clear and accurate information along with good company care and this starts with an Access Statement.
Check out real examples from other businesses including Crathie Holidays: http://www.crathieholidays.org.uk/documents/ AccessstatementforCluniecottagewithpics.pdf
For help and guidance on making an Access Statement, visit http://scotland.tourismtools.co.uk/
Remember, this is a considerable target market that is often overlooked by accommodation providers. By becoming more aware and informative in relation to what your business can offer, you can support the accessible market and in return you may be rewarded with higher occupancy rates and loyal customers, who may just return, again and again.
- Layout and dimensions of spaces e.g. the height of kitchen worktop
- The provision of blue badge parking
- Location of Ramps
- Availability of accessible toilets
- Provisions of lifts
- Travel options
- The location of stairs – a floor plan is helpful