Making the Travel Industry More Inclusive and Accessible
The hospitality industry has been at the forefront championing for the rights of the disabled in the society. Around 10% of the world’s population, some 650 million people, live with a disability. These special group of people travels at the same rate as everyone else despite having limited access to some great destinations.
Inclusive travel and excursions are all about designing a unique holiday experience for all guests — abled and disabled, to feel welcomed and included while ensuring that every aspect of their travel from dining, accommodation to friendly transport options, is being taken care of.
For businesses that are looking to take advantage of untapped market opportunities and open their doors to the marginalized groups within travel, the room for improvement is big. To start with, there are key areas businesses can improve on to make their products and services more accessible and inclusive to anyone.
Components of an Effective Inclusive Travel
Inclusive travel encompasses several things such as dining, accommodation and activities. But to ensure value for money for your guests, some key areas like information, infrastructure and service excellence must be addressed. The idea is to create a serene, inclusive, and fun environment for everyone.
1. Provide Adequate Information
For guests, especially vacationers, to make an informed decision as to where they’re going to enjoy their holiday, they require a great deal of information. So you should make this information readily available across all your platforms — social media, magazine, radio, and other communication channels. Make sure to also include subtitles on your messages as well as adopting an inclusive marketing campaign to appeal to a wider audience. By availing all necessary information, you’re equipping travelers with tools to make an informed decision on what to expect while eliminating doubts they may have initially about your service.
2. Service Excellence Environment
Another key component of inclusive travel is service excellence. This is what distinguishes your products and what you have to offer from what competitors are offering. First, your services must be centered toward making the customer happy; a recognition that every customer matters regardless of their abilities. Second, always complement your services with a friendly smile and use positive, appreciative, and respectful language when interacting with guests.
To ensure the utmost customer experiences especially for people living with disabilities, employees should be on continuous training and improvement classes.
For businesses in the hospitality industry, infrastructure is very important as it speaks a lot about their capacity and ability to offer quality services. And one way to improve your services is by re-configuring your infrastructure to meet different kinds of group needs. For instance, ensure all your access ways, entry, and exit points are clear for easy movement, especially for those using wheelchairs. Provide a hard copy menu to all your guests, carrying guests’ luggage, clearly displaying your organization’s safety and accessible features at the reception.
The inclusive travel market opens opportunities to other market segments such as cruise ships tourism as well as natural and cultural heritage. So businesses that are ready to offer inclusive travel must start with making incremental changes in terms of how they disseminate information to the public, service excellence and infrastructural developments. Simple moves such as having wider doors and ramps can increase accessibility for people with different abilities.
Focusing on small but significant changes instead of major renovations can substantially improve your customer experience. However, these changes are not ubiquitously adopted and so people with limited mobility who’d want to lead an active lifestyle are locked out most non-inclusive destinations.