Marketing tools for inclusive business promotion
As with any business marketing campaign, your aim should be to grab attention and create interest and excitement in a way that makes people want to visit you and rush to book!
For those with access requirements, this excitement and action only exists if they can find information on inclusivity that is both authentic and trustworthy, giving them the confidence to book.
Below are some of the informative elements you should ensure are available – and easy to access - for prospective visitors to your business:
Accurate and up to date physical accessibility information about your venue or premises, such as an Accessibility Guide. This allows those with access requirements to independently assess whether your business is the right fit for them. This might include:
- doorway dimensions and bed height measurements,
- the number of accessible car parking spaces and their distance from the front entrance,
- the availability of facilities such as hearing loops, quiet areas or Changing Places toilets.
Information related to your operations, and what has been done internally to encourage a positive perception of disability, otherwise known as social accessibility:
- perhaps your front of house staff have all attended disability awareness training,
- or you have a neurodivergent colleague who proactively provides tours at certain hours to reduce visitor over-stimulation.
Information about what to see and do in the area:
- for example, a list of local tourist attractions that have wheelchair or tramper (all-terrain wheelchair) hire on site
- or some time-saving recommendations of activities, attractions, pubs and restaurants that have good accessibility credentials.
Whatever it may be, mention it. This will only strengthen customer confidence and allow people to gain a sense of familiarity pre-arrival. Further information on how to operationally ensure your business is accessible to those with varying impairments and requirements can be found on our ‘Make your business accessible’ page.
All information you provide should be accurate, up-to-date and easy to find (perhaps in a specific ‘Accessibility Information’ part of your website, clearly linked to from your homepage). It should be available in several formats, such as an easy-read document with accompanying images, a large print and high contrast version, or a subtitled video highlighting the main points.
Case study: Hotel Brooklyn
The beauty of Hotel Brooklyn is that the focus on fulfilling as wide an inclusive experience as possible was made when the hotel was still on a piece of paper. We then went through a process of learning and understanding; both about our property’s unique opportunities and then what guests with various physical, sensory and cognitive impairments and access requirements would require from a stay with us.
We support them online and offline by detailing exactly what we have and providing an accessible video that shows the facilities available on arrival and right through the property. It’s all about constantly learning, training and communicating.
To listen, learn and always work on overcoming a perceived barrier by engineering out the issue rather than saying ‘no’ is key. We continue to learn every day and it’s well worth it because we deliver a great experience for our guests.”
An Accessibility Guide is produced by tourism operators to provide potential customers with accessibility information about a venue, property or service.
It enables individuals with accessibility requirements, their family and friends to make informed decisions of where to stay and visit. This includes not just wheelchair users but people who are D/deaf or have hearing loss, have a sensory or cognitive impairment, older people, families with young children and more.
These guides don’t just benefit those with accessibility requirements; operators often say that the process of creating a guide helps them to better understand their accessibility provision and any gaps.
Remember that an Accessibility Guide is a factual summary of what is on offer and is not a judgement on your accessibility. For example, never say ‘we are accessible’, as this means different things to different people. Simply audit your business and describe what you have.
VisitEngland and VisitScotland provide a free to use website for the easy production and publication of Accessibility Guides. You can produce a guide by answering a series of questions on your venue’s accessibility, uploading useful photos and inputting any further information. You will be given a unique URL to promote your guide, which you can add to your website and share across social media channels.
The importance of honest marketing
Honesty is the best policy; there is little worse for a visitor with accessibility requirements than travelling to a destination and having an unpredictable and unreliable experience with different features and facilities to what was advertised.