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Accessibility: ramp it up

17 June 2011 by
Accessibility: ramp it up

Do you have an effective ramp for guests with mobility impairments to get into your premises? Are there dedicated toilet facilities for people with disabilities in your restaurant and can they get to them when the restaurant is busy? Is your menu printed in clearly legible type? And does your menu include gluten-free options for coeliacs?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, you could be turning people with disabilities away from your business and straight into the arms of your competitors.

Is offering truly accessible hospitality the right thing to do? Of course it is. But let's set aside for a moment the obvious moral and legal imperatives, and focus on the hard financials: guests with disabilities represent an estimated £2b annual market for overnight stays.

It's a fallacy that tapping into this market by making your business more accessible needs to be a costly process. There are a thousand tiny tweaks that operators can make to their customer offering today that would improve the experience of a disabled person.

In the end it's a state of mind. If you show a willingness to embrace the needs of all guests and train your employees to do the same, you'll transform the accessibility status of your business.

And, as ever, we're here to help.

Four years ago, we launched the Accessibility Catey, to enable us to highlight positive case studies of businesses that are taking steps to make their premises open to everyone.

This week, we launch our new awareness campaign, Ramp It Up. In the coming months we'll offer you practical steps to making your business more accessible. We'll outline the range of disabilities you might encounter and the responses they require from you. We'll point you to products on the market that can help. And we'll challenge you to look at your premises through fresh eyes - the eyes of a guest or customer with an impairment.

In the end, the campaign boils down to a simple message: ramp up awareness about your accessibility and you'll ramp up your profits.

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