Are you really aware of how accessible your business is to those who have difficulty with mobility, hearing or seeing? Most operators will understand their obligations under the Equality Act, but not all really appreciate the opportunity presented by this growing market.
With an ageing population, it's no surprise that those in wheelchairs, or with hearing, visual or temporary impairments, amount to 20% of the population. It is estimated the market amounts to £2b.
But speak to those who live with accessibility requirements and it's soon apparent that there is plenty more that can be done to attract their custom. Communication is one of the key issues. Simply by asking about requirements and explaining the facilities during the booking process will mean an improved experience, as we found when we joined an accessibility audit.
There are plenty of practical physical alterations that can be made, too. They don't necessarily need to be expensive - like simply moving or removing furniture so as not to impede a wheelchair's turning circle - but they do require looking at your operation from a different angle.
That is why we are encouraging operators to take part in Caterer and Hotelkeeper‘s Accessibility Awareness Day. On 1 October, hospitality operators across the country will be taking a tour of their businesses in wheelchairs, blindfolded or with limited hearing to share the experience of a large proportion of their guests.
To ensure you are ready to make the most of the day, in the coming weeks we will offer practical help on getting staff involved, suggestions for accessibility-awareness sessions and guides for ensuring you get the most out of the day. Look out for the Ramp it Up logo for more advice on how to participate.
By James Stagg
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