Tourism and hotel services enable providers to cater to people who want nothing more than an enjoyable and relaxing overnight rest, some good food, and, perhaps, an evening swim while they’re at it. Whether checking in to a hotel for work or pleasure, the experience is expected to be enjoyable and stress-free regardless.
When it comes to catering to disabled guests, providers must think similarly, offering an experience that is as strong, inclusive, and accessible to their own needs as hotels have naturally provided for non-disabled people for hundreds of years.
It is not just the reception desk, bedrooms, swimming pools, restaurants, gyms, washrooms, beer gardens, smoking areas, spas, and retail areas that must all meet a similar standard of inclusive access; catering not only to a guest’s physical requirements but also their sensory and digital environment is just as vital.
Aside from the design of the building itself, the checking-in process and digital experience should be straightforward and accessible to people of all walks of life. The layout of the hotel in question should not be confusing, for potentially being disorienting, and this rule equally applies to the process of checking in and out. Everything must be simplified and enjoyable; it is not just a case of installing a wheelchair ramp and ticking boxes to meet legal obligations. Hotels are expensive, and providing convenience should naturally be the top priority of facility owners.
To ensure your hotel is completely inclusive, make sure there are disabled-friendly rooms somewhere in the hotel, but preferably on the first floor. These rooms should be designed to provide a safe and comfortable experience for guests with visual or hearing impairments, neurodiverse conditions, or restricted mobility.
In addition to designing rooms for wheelchair access, consider features such as sensory lighting, soundproof walls, maps, and braille signage. For swimming pools, consider using ramps instead of ladders and offer seated lifts for mobility-impaired guests.
Installing disabled access lifts, including vertical platform lifts and overhead hoists, is another essential step toward increasing your hotel’s accessibility. Also, make sure that communal toilets are fitted with grab rails and emergency pull strings with an accompanying card.
While the structural design is important, you must also consider training staff in the local sign language dialect so that they can communicate key terminology with guests, and be aware of the different types of disabilities out there, as every guest is built differently, but they are ultimately coming to your company for a great experience.
So with all these things in mind, how do we make hotels accessible?
Well, as legislation is forever changing, Direct Access would recommend booking an initial accessibility audit to see what can be improved upon, so that your specific facility can achieve best practice accessibility standards.
Moving forward, we would then recommend rebooking an access audit every couple of years so that you can keep up to speed with the latest laws and provide the most accessible experience compared to your competitors. Click the button below to view our Access Consultancy services options. Or click here to download our Free Hotel Access Audit checklist.
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