Inclusive marketing channels
In this section, you will learn about specific marketing channels, influencers and initiatives you might wish to engage with on your inclusive marketing journey. Whether you are looking for business support, ways to reach diverse audiences, or an opportunity to communicate your accessibility credentials to those with access requirements, below is a list of schemes, shows, bloggers and travel companies for you to explore.
- Accessibility schemes and awards
- Disability-focused shows
- Accessibility guidebooks
- Disabled bloggers and influencers
- Online holiday listings
- Facebook groups
- Accessible travel companies
Purple Tuesday – With a focus on the value of the Purple Pound, Purple Tuesday is a change programme for organisations of all sizes and from all sectors to get involved in. The common goal is improving the customer experience for disabled people 365 days a year.
Accessibility awards and certification
A successful application to an accessibility award can provide a useful source of publicity and build visitor confidence in your business and its reputation. Just the process of applying for an accessibility award is a useful exercise as the application process helps you step back, reflect on your business and identify areas for future development. Below are some to get acquainted with:
- VisitEngland’s Accessible and Inclusive Tourism Award – recognises any tourism business providing a truly memorable visitor experience for everyone, particularly those with accessibility requirements, from theatres to self-catering properties.
- Blue Badge Access Awards – focusing on ‘stylish accessibility’ across hotels, restaurants and other venues, these awards celebrate exceptional venues that welcome disabled people as ‘first class citizens’.
- Cateys Accessibility Award - this award recognises hospitality businesses that are going above and beyond the requirements of the Equality Act in accommodating and catering for disabled people.
- National Accessible Scheme - all types of visitor accommodation can join the VisitEngland National Accessible Scheme (NAS). This classification system rates your business on its suitability for guests with varying access requirements. Many businesses find that the NAS standards help them to improve their facilities and the ratings provide reassurance to guests.
Most exhibitors at these shows are disability equipment suppliers but there are also leisure, sports and holiday stands.
- Disability Awareness Day, Europe’s largest ‘not for profit’ voluntary-led disability exhibition, held annually near Warrington, has holiday and leisure exhibitors.
- Kidz to Adultz Exhibitions, dedicated to disabled children and young adults. Five a year are held around the UK.
- Naidex, the UK’s largest disability, homecare and rehabilitation event for trade and consumers.
Case Study: Mylor Sailing & Powerboat School
“Build partnerships with local and national organisations and keep in touch with how they are marketing their products and activities. This includes your local council, disability organisations, other organisations relevant to your business type. The VisitEngland website and their Business Advice Hub is also very useful.”
There is one comprehensive guidebook to accessible holidays in Britain. The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain, produced by Motability, is available online or in hard copy. It contains advice and guidance plus listings of attractions, days out, travel and accommodation.
If you would like to be included in a future edition, email firstname.lastname@example.org outlining your accessible facilities and services. If accepted, one of the team of authors will visit you to make a more detailed assessment.
A large part of building a community (and often one of the best ways to build disabled people’s confidence in your business and its offerings) is to engage with bloggers and influence who have lived experience and a solid reputation in the travel and tourism sector. Well-known bloggers can attract many thousands of readers. You could reach out to a disabled travel blogger and offer a complimentary visit/stay in return for authentic marketing to their audience.
- A Chronic Voice travel guide and blog – Sheryl Chan uses her blog to provide travel hints and tips, amongst other things, to those living with chronic illness.
- Adventure Wheels – in their travel blog, couple Karla and Stephen show that camping, caravanning and motorhoming is a great way to see the world, whether you have additional access requirements or not.
- Carrie-Ann Lightley – a disabled blogger and travel writer, Carrie-Ann uses her accessible travel blog to share reviews, travel guides and wheelchair travel tips.
- Chloe Tear: Going on holiday with Cerebral Palsy – Chloe is an award-winning disability blogger and freelance writer. In this guide, she discusses the challenges and triumphs of travelling with Cerebral Palsy.
- Martyn Sibley: world changing trips – regularly voted as one of Britain’s most influential disabled people, Martyn has been on numerous adventures. He has documented his journeys as accessible travel blogs to share with other keen disabled explorers.
- Ross Lannon: A Life on Wheels – discussing all things disability and lifestyle, Ross also writes reviews on everything from dining experiences and overnight stays to theatre trips and wheelchair roller skating.
- Simply Emma - Simply Emma is a leading travel and disability blog focused on accessible travel and life experiences from a wheelchair user’s perspective.
- T-shirt Twins – an adventure blog documenting travel with sightloss by John who is deafblind and Lauren, his sighted guide.
Groups on social media channels like Facebook are a popular place for disabled travellers to get advice on where to stay and visit.
- Accessible Holiday and Day Trips has over 18,000 members.
- Accessible, Adapted or Disabled Holiday Lets, Places to Visit & Days Out UK has over 6,000 members.
Many travellers with access requirements are looking for mainstream accommodation and activities, and therefore use mainstream websites to book a holiday or work trip. Accessibility search fields are increasingly appearing on accommodation websites such as Booking.com, Expedia, Premier Cottages and Farm Stay.
However, users often still have to visit the owner websites for accurate, specific information making the planning stage of their trip time consuming and tiresome.
Below is a list of online specialist listings and guides. They range widely in their scope and style but each of them lists accessible holiday accommodation, attractions and activities in England and could be a useful marketing platform for you.
Many of them offer you the chance to upload your own information for a fee and update with special offers as the season goes on, requiring you to ‘self-certify’ that you are accessible. Listing charges range from free to over £100 per year. Some charge a commission on bookings made.
Some websites only review or list personally chosen and audited venues so you would need to contact them and see if you can arrange for them to visit you.
- Able Magazine Travel Guide - Published by Able Magazine, this online guide includes travel advice, listings of accommodation recommended by readers and carries adverts.
- AccessAble - Detailed pan-disability access information on over 100,000 hotels, attractions and restaurants in England. To be listed you must be audited by an AccessAble surveyor. The fee buys you a detailed report and a link from the AccessAble website. If your local authority commissions AccessAble, then your business could be included and receive a free audit.
- Accessible Holiday Escapes – This multi award-winning and family run website clearly listsboth general features and all internal and external accessibility features for each property. The website blog also allows visitors to read reviews and get to know property owners.
- Airbnb - Airbnb now feature accessibility filters on their website, integrated into their listing results. Over 1000 bookable accessible homes and accommodation were added in 2018 when Airbnb bought Accomable. Accessible experiences are now also listed.
- Blue Badge Style - Information site listing pre-approved and audited ‘stylish’ accessible venues, including hotels, bars and events.
- Disability Holidays Guide - Information and links to accessible holidays in the UK and worldwide. You can promote your property on the website for a fee.
- Tourism for All Travel Planner – A charity-run website with online listings of accessible accommodation in the UK. All members of Tourism for All are listed automatically.
- Pantou - A register of accessible tourism suppliers in Europe. Free listing to businesses who belong to a certified accessibility audit scheme or who complete a site access statement. Managed by ENAT (European Network for Accessible Tourism) and supported by the European Commission.
- Sociability – This app empowers social inclusion by helping disabled people to find accessible places and encouraging reviews and information upload from everyone.
Specialist travel companies organise package holidays in England or act as agents for accessible accommodation in England. Some of these may accept an offer of a familiarisation visit:
- Altogether Travel is the UK’s first registered Care Inspectorate travel company. Providing supported holidays and accessible travel, they plan, book and provide care and support throughout accessible adventures.
- Disabled Access Holidays this specialist overseas travel agent also has a listing of accessible holiday accommodation in England.
- Enable Holidays is an agency that specialises in accessible travel for wheelchair users.
- Limitless Travel is an agency and operator organising bespoke holidays in the UK and Europe and has a listing of about 500 personally verified accommodations.
- Responsible Travel is a large international operator with a focus on supporting local communities. Their site has some UK holidays and a ‘wheelchair accessible’ holiday type option.
- Travel Eyes is a tour operator providing independent group travel for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Below are some specialist print magazines aimed at disabled travelers. All these magazines provide advertising and editorial opportunities:
- Able Magazine is a disability and lifestyle magazine, published every other month.
- Disabled Motoring UK campaigns for motoring and travel related improvements for disabled people. The monthly magazine has news as well as travel-related features.
- Disability Review Magazine is a bi-annual magazine with a readership of around 1 million.
- Enable is another disability and lifestyle magazine, also published every other month.
- MS Matters from the Multiple Sclerosis Society includes people’s stories and practical tips, published three times a year.
- Posability is a bi-monthly subscription lifestyle magazine. The website has a ‘holidays’ section and lists UK accommodation.
- Stroke news offers support and guidance to everyone affected by a stroke, published three times a year.