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March 2019

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The Tech Helping People with Disabilities Travel with Ease

Restaurant Tech Live blog post 1

Accessible travel is an extremely lucrative market which more hotel owners should be aware of. As much as $19 billion is spent by travellers with disabilities each year, and what’s even more astounding is that these travellers have to do even more pre-planning than the average guest because of the lack of digital accessibility within the travel sector. 

Essential Accessibility - a Swiss-based organisation - began as a division of QualiLife, which developed the leading desktop application for people who suffer with paralysis or other dexterity limitations. At first their keyboard and mouse replacement tools allowed people who struggle to use their mouse and/or keyboard access their computer with less hassle. Since then, Essential Accessibility has gone from strength the strength. Over the past few years, the organisation has been established and spearheaded their model, which empowers brands to provide assistive technology for all their customers at no extra cost. 

Co-founder and managing director of Essential Accessibility Simon Dermer, commented on what the inclusion of assistive technology can do for brand awareness, “If you’re a brand who chose to offer AT to your customers, then you are already going beyond the minimum compliance requirements, as you are making sure that no one with a disability is left out. The brands that chose to make this tech available, saw the benefits of being a part of a programme that offered sustainable social impact.” 

Around 46% of disabled travellers have said they have faced accessibility barriers associated with their hotel room, as people with disabilities need to know certain bits of information - whether their hotel has wheel-in showers and grab bars, auxiliary visual alarms and flashing-light emergency alert systems - to ensure their hotel meets their needs.

“If certain details are missed, people may book a room that turns out to be inaccessible. For the guest with a disability, this could cause a lot of stress as they have to quickly try and find more suitable accommodations on very short notice. For the hotel, it means lost business.” Simon said.

“When all this information is supplied on a hotel website, customers of all abilities can make hotel reservations, minus the stress. For example, the Marriott International website now includes these notes “accessible guestrooms have a 32-in.-wide opening’ and ‘roll in showers”. Omni Hotels & Resorts also provides specific room accessibility details like ‘grab bars near toilet and shower’ and ‘visual notification for hotel alarm system and phone system.” 

Essential Accessibility has certainly made a name for itself as a leading digital accessibility solution provider, and they boast more than 200 clients and partners! 

“Our deployment model allows brands to offer this technology at no extra cost to people with disabilities. Companies can feature an interactive icon on their homepage and when users click this, it opens up a new landing page or brand disability channel,” said Simon. 

“Here they are able to download the technology and discover different careers, services and programmes available for people with disabilities by different brands. Assistive technology and the brand disability channel are both the important parts of what makes the digital accessibility solution so ingenious.” 

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