Business recovery webinar FAQs: Accessibility

Questions and answers from our sixth webinar, Accessibility, recorded 30 July.

Please note information provided in these responses was correct at the time of recording.

A list of online and classroom-style training programmes, free staff training slides (to be updated shortly) and an Accessibility Champion brief can be found on the VisitEngland Business Advice Hub.

As of 4 August, guided tours of up to 30 people can take place indoors or outdoors provided businesses undertake risk assessments in line with the guidance and put any necessary mitigations in place.

At the time of writing, the maximum number of people that can meet outside is a maximum of two households or up to six people who you do not live with. The Government has issued guidance on what you can and cannot do and more specific guidance on meeting people from outside your household.

The strength of disinfectant required is detailed in COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home.


Businesses who use fogging need to have the appropriate training on use of fogging machines and the type of virucidal disinfectants – there are more eco-friendly products which are still 99.999% effective but have less odour and are therefore least likely to cause problems.

Providing accessible accommodation is as much about the little things as it is about the facilities on offer. One of the most important factors is uncluttered space. It’s about making small adjustments and communicating to potential guests what you can honestly offer.


It is impossible to cater for everyone but play to your strengths and use what you do have e.g your accommodation may not have a wet room and be suitable for wheelchair users, but is spacious and has level thresholds so would be perfect for someone using a walking trolley or zimmer frame.  Make sure your accessibility information is clearly visible on your website and not hidden away, so guests can make an informed choice.


Think about all types of access, including visual, and hearing where initial outlay on equipment is less but there is a large untapped market.


Have you got a quiet site far from the madding crowd that would be great for those living with autism or dementia?  How can you help these groups have a relaxing holiday?


Contrast colours in the accommodation are helpful for guests with visual impairments, to highlight handrails, door frames, obstructions etc It’s not just bright colours, it’s about the difference in light reflection – you need a contrast of at least 40% on the LRV scale (Light Reflectance Value) so people can easily distinguish features.


Number one tip is to listen to guest feedback and learn – provide what your guests actually want, not what you think they might need. This enables you to improve the accessibility of your property over time.


Practical guidance on making your self-catering business more inclusive can be found on the VisitEngland Business Advice Hub.

A common concern from operators and staff is using the wrong language. Guidance can be found on page 11 of the Speak Up! guide to marketing your accessibility. Carrie-Ann Lightley wrote an interesting article ‘Why terms like ‘fully accessible’ don't help disabled people’ 

­No, not every seat needs to be wheelchair accessible, but having some will broaden your appeal­.

Consideration should be given to the use of clear face masks for staff working with the public by way of supporting communication and access for deaf or hard of hearing visitors that require the opportunity to lip read:

The latest Government guidance on working safely in the visitor economy at the time of writing states that “when managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial”. From 8 August, face coverings are required in all indoor tourist attractions and it is also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet. Read the Government guidance on face coverings.

At Hoe Grange Holidays we use a booking system called Supercontrol who have partnered with Master Cancel to provide flexible booking terms that give a money back guarantee to the customer so that they can cancel up to 3 days before arrival and still get a 100% refund. We have introduced this as a result of COVID and the many cancellations we had during lockdown. There is a percentage charge for the service but our guests can now book with confidence and I think this is why we have picked up so many bookings in the last month. I am not aware of any other insurance in this sector who offer such comprehensive cover at the moment.

One option is to lock the toilet with a RADAR key – disabled people can purchase a RADAR key that is universal to open all accessible toilets using this lock. You would have a notice on the door telling people where to borrow a key from e.g. information desk should they not have one themselves. This will limit people ‘sneaking in’ who do not require an accessible toilet.

The Tourism for All Travel Planner lists all current National Accessible Scheme members with their ratings. This is promoted on our consumer website. On the VisitEngland Assessment Services website, properties rated under the NAS contain the relevant rating information as part of their listing.

In the UK 13.8 million people have a disability and/or long-term health condition of which 80% have a hidden or invisible disability. Therefore, it is certain that ferries/ships are already accommodating a large proportion of the disabled population where no physical adjustments are needed.  To further support those with hidden/invisible disabilities operators should consider adopting the Sunflower Lanyard Scheme – used in most airports and a growing number of other businesses and ‘Not Every Disability is Visible’ signage for accessible toilets.  For those with physical disabilities, priority boarding and placing cars near lifts on board is already in place.  Disabled people will generally understand there may be some unavoidable restrictions but these need to be made clear via websites and wider information guides so informed choices can be made by individuals.