Do you operate your own business? You surely have encountered trying different ways to attract more customers to increase your sales. But have you tried evaluating your business if it’s accessible to all types of people? The accessibility of one’s place is important as it represents the inclusion of people, even those physically challenged individuals. Does your establishment have physical barriers that hinder differently abled customers? There are different forms of disabilities some of your customers/clients may acquire, but you haven’t noticed which affect their mobility, hearing, and vision.
There are business advantages in catering to this group of people who are more likely to travel during offseason and are more likely to return to visit. In fact, The United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) says in its report Good Practices in the Accessible Tourism Supply Chain that providing accessible accommodations in place for travellers with disabilities is a “golden opportunity” for the tourism industry.
By making your business accessible to people with different abilities, you are not only increasing your potential customers and making good economic sense but also helping to create a more inclusive society. It’s not new to us that everyone, with a disability or not, should have equal access to stores, restaurants, hotels, gyms, parks and airlines. In this blog, we’ll share with you some ways to make your business more accessible.
Establish a good first impression:
Establishing a good first impression is making sure your place have ramps, rails and automatic doors to allow customers with mobility devices enter conveniently. Make sure the aisles are clear of anything that may become an obstacle regardless of a person’s abilities. A clear aisle allows everyone to move around easily and immediately; which means more possibilities for customers to have a great experience while at your place.
Make sure the washroom is accessible:
When we say accessible washroom, you should see a wide door that is at least 85cm wide, an 80cm space beside the toilet, a grab bar at both side and back of the toilet, and a turning radius of 1.2m. Tip: more access is being provided if your washroom door swings out, rather than in.
Make reading easy:
Make sure the signages you post is visible and readable enough for customers who are deaf or defected vision; try using fonts like Verdana or Arial which both make navigating your place easier upon reading the signs. You also have to provide accessible print materials. Securing Braille on signage, menus and business cards help blind people understand what they’re supposed to be reading. For deaf-mute customers, it would be easier for them to choose on the menu if there are images of the menu.
Consider the highs and lows as you put tables and chairs to accommodate customers who may use a wheelchair or a scooter or those who have other mobility challenges; this helps them feel more inclusive as there are other sets of tables and chairs for their family members.
Provide enough parking space:
Most businesses tend to disregard providing enough parking spaces for people with reduced mobility as they often think that there are only a few people with disabilities visit their place. But now that accessible travel has been making their waves in the tourism industry, it’s just right and just to provide enough accessible space for their parking, and not allow any other people take their parking space, thinking no disabled customer is around. It is important for business owners to take note of this often issue, which is in fact, often overlooked as this talks mainly about fairness and inclusivity.
Provide accessible lighting:
Adjust the lighting of the place to meet the needs of your customers. It’s okay to maintain ambient mood lighting which creates a romantic setting, which may not be good enough for customers with defected vision when reading menus, as well as those communicating through sign language. However, you can always have an alternate lighting for both sets of customers. You can install clip-on lights for better illumination. Also, there are tools online to help measure the amount of light required in a given space.
Turn on closed captioning:
Turning on the closed captioning on TV sets enables people who have defected hearing or those who are deaf-mute to keep up with whatever program they’re currently watching.
Enroll for sensitivity training:
Lastly, and most importantly, continuous knowledge is always one of the keys to almost everything we do. Create awareness by educating people with their attitudes, thus breaking barriers for people with disabilities. Provide your staff with training on matters like assisting those mobility devices, interacting with service animals, etc.; this ensures that everyone in your staff is informed and aware of accommodating and including all people with or without a disability.