Did you know that over 1 billion people are living with some form of disability? That’s approximately 15% of the global population!
Although you might not think so, disability will affect us all at some point in our lives – either from birth or later in life, temporarily or permanently.
It’s important to remember that not all disabilities are the same, and they’re not always visible.
Inaccessible environments create barriers that often hinder disabled people from being able to access the same facilities as everyone else – and this is especially the case within the hospitality sector (i.e. hotels, cafes, restaurants, pubs, leisure centres, stadiums, etc).
Here the team at Level Access Lifts explain the importance of making your venue accessible to everyone, and what you can do to improve accessibility.
Why accessibility is important in the hospitality industry
Whilst diversity, equality, and inclusion are terms that we’re all familiar with, businesses in the hospitality sector must bear them in mind when offering their products and services to customers. After all, you want to guarantee the best user experience to ensure they choose your company time and time again, don’t you?
Being ‘wheelchair friendly’ and providing disabled parking spaces is certainly one way to make your venue more accessible. However, you also need to consider the individual requirements of visitors with disabilities and special needs.
For example, inaccessible toilets are difficult to navigate for people with reduced mobility, and narrow turnstiles or gates prevent wheelchair users from being able to enter.
4 easy ways to improve accessibility
Let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure your hospitality venue is welcoming for everyone.
- Ensure staff are well-trained – communication is key in the hospitality industry. It’s a skill required by front-of-house staff, and those in customer-facing roles, to be able to provide suitable services for visitors’ needs.
By undergoing disability awareness and inclusion training, employees will be able to attend to guests with disabilities appropriately, and deliver a more enjoyable experience for them.
- Understand and empathise with your customers – rule number one in the hospitality industry is to always listen to your customers. They know better than anyone what they need, and can even offer recommendations on how to improve your facilities to make them more accessible. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas and solutions.
It’s also worth publicising details of the provisions you have in place at your venue (i.e. platform stairlifts, wheelchair ramps, wide doorways, disabled toilets, excellent lighting). These can be promoted on your website, billboards, and any other promotional materials.
- Examine the layout – if you regularly hold events, you need to ensure that there are adequate parking spaces, including a mix of regular and disabled bays, plus dedicated parking for coaches and buses. Ideally, spaces for blue badge holders should be close to the entrance of the building, and at least 3.6m wide.
Any routes to your venue must be clearly signposted, well-lit, and wide enough for wheelchair users. Inside the building, aisles and corridors need to be sufficiently spacious, and disabled toilets and lower counters must be accessible.
- Provide clear signage – when it comes to décor and signage, it’s best to avoid overly fancy fonts. Opt for simple text and colours that are easy to read instead, and make sure any signs are positioned at eye level.
It’s a sensible idea to provide information in different formats, too, such as large print and Braille. Another brilliant way to make your venue more accessible (especially to those with hearing impediments) is to provide a hearing loop and use stickers to promote it. This system enables people with hearing aids to hear what’s going on whilst cutting out unwanted background noise.
Take the next step and invest in a platform lift
Here at Level Access Lifts, we have been working with clients from the hospitality sector for a number of years. During this time, we have helped the likes of the Royal Albert Hall, Starbucks, Las Iguanas, Emirates, Pret A Manger, and Travelodge to make their facilities more accessible and inclusive by installing at least one type of platform lift.
We pride ourselves on offering a tailored lifting solution to help reduce the stigma and discrimination that disabled people often face in social settings – allowing them to feel welcome and valued. On top of this, though, our platform lifts can help the hospitality industry to thrive by welcoming more visitors through the door and boosting profit margins.
To find out more about our platform lifts and how we can improve accessibility at your hospitality venue, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 023 8081 4924. We’ll be more than happy to share our expertise and answer your questions.
Alternatively, why not drop us an email at email@example.com? A member of our friendly team will get back to you as soon as possible.