By Aileen Crawford

Prepare for 2018’s major conferences and events by making your business more accessible

There are many good reasons for tourism and hospitality businesses to think about accessibility.  As a city we’re renowned for our friendliness, but ensuring your business gives the warmest welcome possible to all customers will have a positive impact on your bottom line too. 

The Accessible Tourism market is rapidly growing and is presently relatively untapped.  One in five people across the UK have specific access requirements and their spending power is estimated to be worth £80 million. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that 96% of disabled people are not wheelchair users and those with specific access requirements also include the likes of families with young children, pregnant women and the elderly. 

Between 2006 and 2015, there was a 31% increase in trips made by people aged over 55 and the value of domestic overnight trips taken annually by those aged over 65 is £631m.  Given that we have an ageing population, its vital your business is able to cater for this market. 

2018 is a milestone year for Glasgow. As well as hosting the inaugural European Championships, around 7,000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend three prestigious medical conference taking place in the city - the World Federation of Hemophilia in May, the World Down Syndrome Congress in July and the International Symposium on ALS/MND in December.  Roughly 10% of delegates attending these conferences are living with the conditions under discussion.

In order to prepare for these upcoming events, there are some easy ways to make your business more accessible:

  • Attend one of the World Federation of Haemophilia Awareness Sessions taking place at the SEC Armadillo on 6th March.  These sessions are ideal for customer facing staff and those responsible for service excellence.  They’re free to attend but you must RSVP for either the 11am or 2pm session. 

  • Attend one of the  World Down’s Syndrome Awareness Sessions taking place at the Crowne Plaza on 19th March.  These sessions are ideal for customer facing staff and those responsible for service excellence.  They’re free to attend but you must RSVP for either the 11am or 2pm session. 

  • Create your own Accessibility Guide using VisitScotland’s step by step tool  which was designed to simplify the process.  You should then publish this on a prominent place on your website.

  • Improve your customer service by undertaking VisitScotland’s free online Accessible Tourism training course designed for managers and frontline staff of tourist accommodation, attractions, eating and drinking establishments.

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