1A guide to marketingyour accessibilitySpeak Up!
Speak Up! is brought to you by VisitEngland, the country’s nationaltourist board, as part of a range of tools and resources to help youwelcome people with access needs (www.visitengland.org/access).VisitEngland works in partnership with others to lead the developmentof a thriving tourism industry. We support our partners operatingat national and local level to achieve economic growth and increaseinvestment and employment by encouraging the developmentof excellent visitor experiences and effective business practices.VisitEngland offers a wide range of support and opportunities to thedifferent sectors involved in England’s visitor economy. These include:• Business Support - an extensive range of guidance, case studiesand toolkits designed to improve welcome, accessibility, businesssustainability and to assist operators keep up to date with legalrequirements. Accreditation and Assessment schemes help businesseskeep abreast with changing visitor expectations and demonstrate theircommitment to service by displaying the internationally recognisedQuality Rose Marque.• Research & Insights - a wide range of market intelligencerevealing latest market trends, including market volume and valuemeasurement, business performance indicators, and information aboutconsumer attitudes, motivations and visitor satisfaction. Sign upto the ‘what’s new’ service via visitengland.org to receive the latestresults.• Marketing & PR - innovative marketing campaigns, social mediachannels and travel stories for national press. Tourism businesses canget involved by engaging with their local destination organisation andthe monthly VisitEngland e-newsletter, which highlights key mediaopportunities.For more information visit: www.visitengland.org
ContentsIntroduction 4Section 1. Starting out? 6Section 2. Marketing to disabled people 8 Feedback and testimonials 9 Visuals 10 Language 11 Alternative formats 12 Telephone communications 12 Pricing incentives 13 Providing reassurance 14Section 3. Key marketing tools 15 Your Access Statement 15 An accessible website 16Section 4. Promoting your business 18 Brochures and print 18 Public relations and specialist disability media 19 Social media 20 Review sites and forums 22 Mobile media and apps 22Section 5. Using listings, agencies and operators 23 Guide books 23 Online holiday listings 23 Accessibility lifestyle guides 25 Tour operators 26Section 6. Other marketing angles 27Section 7. Further help 29 “The Speak Up! guide is verythorough and informative, with lotsof ideas that I’m eager to try out.So nice to receive a publication thatfeels like a supportive friend.”Karen Venn, Norburton Hall, Dorset
4In this country 1 in 6 people have an‘activity limiting’ health problem or disability(data from the 2011 Census). Many ofyour existing customers are likely to be inthat group but you may not realise this.Impairments such as hearing loss, arthritis,epilepsy and autism are invisible and peoplewon’t typically tell you about them whenthey are booking.More importantly, your customer baseis getting older and with age comes theincreasing chance of impairments such aspoorer eyesight, back problems or otherdisabilities. By 2025 more than a thirdof the UK’s population will be over 55.This guide will bring long term businessbenefits, by helping you to better understandyour current market and profit from newones. Disabled travellers tend to be loyal as,with so few companies reaching out to them,they often return to places that meet theirneeds.Introduction“None of our customersare disabled, so thisguide isn’t for me”“We’ve made our businessmore accessible and want toknow how to communicatethis to disabled people”The accessible tourism market in Englandis worth over £2billion. The good news forbusinesses wanting to target this market isthat demand for accessible accommodationand activities outstrips the current supply.This guide looks at how prospectivecustomers access information, whatcommunication channels they value andwhat prompts them to book. It will help todemystify the process of reaching out todisabled people and to turn your businessinto one that talks confidently to thispotential market.
5Case Study:Scandic Hotels“When we take over a hotel, we implement our accessibilityprogramme within three months and after just one year wetend to notice more bookings from private guests and fromcompanies and organisations.We don’t separate access from our mainstream marketing.We refer to it in every channel so whether we are promotinga business offer or a sporting event, there will always be areference to access. This gives us a clear competitive advantageas well as showing our commitment to social responsibility.”Magnus BerglundDisability Co-ordinatorwww.scandichotels.com/Always-at-Scandic/Special-needs/Case Study:The Fairbank Hotel, a small family run hotel in Cornwall.“We had a family of three arrive, who had contacted us on several occasions abouttheir dietary requirements - specifically vegan - and requested a first floor roombut gave no reason for this. The lady arrived in a wheelchair and her husbandand daughter aided her into the hotel and up to the room. We had luckily put thecouple in our new room, which has a grab rail in the shower. Although we alsoprovided an armchair at the dining table and a raised chair in the sitting room, theirvisit highlighted other areas we could address to make access easier.Even though with first floor bedrooms we are not easily accessible to wheelchairusers, we’ve added an Access Statement to the website saying exactly what we canoffer and how ready we are to help!”Elaine and Paul Reddwww.fairbankhotel.co.ukUK residents with a health condition or impairment and their travelling partyspent almost £2billion on overnight trips in England in 2009. That means,on average, £5.5million is being spent in England each day by groups takingovernight trips with a disabled family member or friend.
6Disabled people do not make up a neatsegment that can be marketed to in exactlythe same way. They feature in every socialand cultural group and have diverse interestsand passions both on holiday and at home.They are a rich mix of potential customers,travelling with friends and family, who are alllooking for what everyone wants on holiday– a good time.That said, most disabled people dohave some requirements when travellingtherefore some specialist marketing andpromotion knowledge will help you. Butthere is no need to become an expert indisability. Approach this market as youwould any other: research your customersand then adjust your product andpromotional channels to attract them.The term ‘disabled’ puts a lot of businessowners off. Some worry that promotingaccessible facilities will deter other visitors.Some are worried about using the wronglanguage and causing offence.But these fears are nearly always unfoundedin reality. Disabled people are just customerswith specific accessibility requirements. Asin any social situation, making an effort andgiving a warm smile can count for more thantrying to be politically correct.Although it is important not to use offensivelanguage, don’t worry about using commoneveryday phrases. It is fine to say to aperson who is blind ‘see you later’ andpeople who use wheelchairs do ‘go fora walk’.Good communication is about beingconfident enough to ask what help peopleneed. Take your lead from the customerthemselves, remembering that not alldisabilities are visible or obvious.It helps to think of your business as being‘accessible’ rather than ‘disability friendly’and offering ‘accessible holidays’ rather than‘disabled holidays’. This helps you to openup your business to all those who haveaccess needs, rather than only those whorecognise themselves as being disabled.Here is an example of how the award-winning Mortons House Hotel in Dorsetpromotes accessibility as part of itsmainstream provision: Mortons House Hotel.Section 1. Starting out?“I am concerned aboutgetting it wrong”“I don’t understanddisability”
7There is a common perception that you needto spend lots of money on door-wideningand ramps to become accessible, but onlyaround 8% of disabled people are wheelchairusers. Think of accessibility in its broadestsense. With some small changes, you couldwelcome many more people.If you have a generally older clientelethen you are probably already makingminor adjustments e.g. providing handrails or information in large print. Perhapsyou offer gluten free options in therestaurant, adjoining rooms for thosethat are travelling in extended familygroups or orthopaedic beds?• Step free access properties, especiallythose with wide doorways and a lot ofopen space, are particularly popular withable-bodied families with toddlers.• Do you have accessible downstairstoilets? The extended family with agrandparent may now feel morecomfortable about visiting you.• You may have installed a simple hearingloop. Suddenly you are welcomingto those with hearing loss who don’ttravel because they are concerned aboutcommunication.Walk around and undertake a DIY auditof your business. By thinking ‘access’, youwill notice many small barriers that can beeasily removed.There is a useful checklist of all the thingsthat you could consider when doingyour audit in VisitEngland’s booklet ‘Onestep ahead’. Although designed for theaccommodation sector, the checklistwill be useful to most tourism businesses.www.visitengland.com/onestepaheadAs a business you are required to take allreasonable steps to ensure that disabledpeople can access your premises andservices. These might include simple changesto layout, improved signage and informationand staff training. It might be somethingas simple as changing check out times.You do NOT have to make changes that areimpractical or beyond your means.Read more information on reasonableadjustments.Sandcastle Waterpark installedinduction loops at each of itscounters to help guests who usea hearing aid. The park, whichattracts around 350,000 visitors ayear, includes information aboutthis in all of its promotionalmaterial and within their AccessStatement. It has also produceda video (with subtitles) whichcovers all aspects of access onsite, including its inductionloop facilities.Case Study:Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool“I’m not accessible”
8Information, information,informationTo be effective, all your marketingcommunications should:1. Create Attention in your audience2. Generate Interest3. Develop Desire4. Turn into Action and a booking.Disabled people, like any other marketsegment, will make booking decisionsbased on what they can find out about yourbusiness.A common complaint among disabledtravellers, their friends and their familiesis that they have a strong desire to travel,but they can’t find accurate and reliableinformation in order to take action andmake a booking. The process of informationgathering before a trip is crucial, especiallyfor less experienced and first timetravellers, so it is vital to communicate youraccessibility to potential customers.What sort of information are disabledpeople looking for?1. A comprehensive picture of theenvironment they are coming to. They wantto feel secure and safe, and know that theirspecific needs will be met. They want toknow whether the staff will be welcomingand when the busy periods are, so ifnecessary they can avoid crowds.2. Information about what to see and doin the area, for example which local touristattractions have wheelchair or tramper (all-terrain wheelchair) hire on site. You can savepotential travellers a lot of time by gatheringthis for them but make sure the activities,attractions, pubs and restaurants you list areaccessible.3. Accurate, reliable and up to dateinformation on facilities. Measurements ofdoor widths, for example, need to be exact.It can also be helpful to provide details ofwhere specialist equipment such as mobilityscooters or wheelchairs can be hired.Section 2. Marketing to disabled peopleIt is particularly important for people with access needs that the information is:Easy to findin a specific‘AccessInformation’section as wellas throughoutthe websiteAccurateso there areno nastysurprises onarrivalReliablewith anindication ofwho or whatorganisation isproviding theinformationAccessiblewith informationin a numberof accessibleformatsUp to datewith a clearindication whichseason/year the datarefers to and whenthe information waslast updated
9Case Study:Elms Farm Cottages, LincolnshireElms Farm Cottages have nine accessible self-catering holiday cottages in convertedbarns and stables on a family farm in Lincolnshire.The Elms Farm Cottages website has a good section on what to do in the local area,including restaurants, fishing, day trips and a guide to nearby accessible attractions.Owners Carol and John Emerson have visited the attractions over the years andrecorded the accessibility details on the website.The Access Statement includes precise measurements of the rooms, heights of thebeds and chairs and the gradients of slopes. It mentions all the extras such asshower wheelchairs and bed rails which guests can reserve when booking. Carol says‘We do not charge for these items and they often make a big difference to guests.It is definitely something other establishments should consider.’ The accessibility ofElms Farm Cottages has received many plaudits on review sites such as Trip Advisor.www.elmsfarmcottages.co.ukFeedback and testimonialsAsk for feedback from your guests. They willusually be happy to provide tips on whatthey want to see on websites and in yourbrochures.‘Word of Mouth’ (advice and independentreviews from family, friends and onlinesources such as Trip Advisor) is now thesingle most valued source of informationwhen booking a holiday. This information isparticularly valued by disabled travellers.Past customers are usually happy to providetestimonials which can then be used on yourwebsite, linked to your social media and puton your other marketing material.When I go awayI always read thetestimonials. It’salways nice notfeeling like a guineapig, so if you canread about someonewho has had a goodexperience then itgives you greaterpeace of mind and youcan concentrate onenjoying yourself!”Katy Etherington,from Berkhamsted,a wheelchair userwho travels with herfamily and PA.“
10VisualsUse pictures of your disabled guests onyour website. These can have even moreimpact than written testimonials as theyclearly illustrate your facilities in use. If youneed willing models for the pictures thenapproach a local disability group and askfor help. Such an approach could also setoff a ‘talking chain’ among the disabledcommunity locally about your property. Besure to include the photos in your AccessStatement.Provide a picture of yourself alongside yourContact Us details. This helps readers withlearning disabilities, dyslexia and non-Englishspeakers, as well as being welcoming.Videos can also illustrate your access. Simplehandheld camera footage can be uploadedonto YouTube and the link embedded in yourAccess Statement.There are many commercial companies whowill produce good promotional access videosfor you, but check their credentials andexperience. Ensure the film has subtitles soit can be read as well as listened too.This edgy film for the boutique WHotel with Paralympian Ade Adepitanwas produced by Gilbey Films, ledby Andy Gilbert, studio director ofChannel 4’s evening show for the2012 Paralympic Games.www.gilbeyfilms.comW HotelLondonThis video illustrates the hotel’saccessibility and its passionfor meeting guests’ needs. It isfronted by a disability awarenessconsultant who uses a wheelchairand who adds his recommendationsas he goes.www.winfordmanor.co.ukWinford Manor Hotelnear Bristol
11LanguageMake sure your terminology is welcoming.Avoid phrases such as: the disabled/theblind; handicapped/invalid; afflicted with/crippled by or wheelchair bound. Instead saydisabled/blind people; wheelchair user; personwith hearing loss or sign language user.Think about your signage too:• ‘We welcome wheelchairs’ (whatabout the people in them?)• ‘Disabled Toilet’ or ‘Disabled CarParking’ (why are the toilet and carpark disabled?) Use phrases such as‘accessible toilet’ and ‘step-free routeto car park’.A sign saying ‘No Dogs’ could be seen asdiscriminatory. There are 6,500 assistancedogs in the UK and they are highlytrained animals that allow people to travelindependently. Replace it with a freewelcome sticker from Assistance Dogs UK.Not everyone speaks or understandsEnglish perfectly. Present material clearlyand simply. Avoid words you wouldnever use in everyday speech e.g. use‘near’ instead of ‘in the vicinity of’.See ‘How to write in plain English’ guide.Use images, pictograms and symbols to helpusers navigate text, for example a pictogramof a car or bus to indicate transport. Seehow the National Trust has used symbols inits regional guides.
12Telephone communicationsDisabled people with very specific needs canrequire a great deal of reassurance and areoften high users of the telephone.So it’s important that all your staff arefamiliar with your accessible products andservices. Are they trained to be patient withcallers who may seem over-persistent aboutdetails? Do they know how to ask if callershave special requests or needs withoutcausing offence?Encourage your staff to ask questions andaccurately record requests. Leave a copy ofyour Access Statement by the phone.Staff need to be confident in receiving callsvia Text Relay, which is a national text tovoice service that allows people with hearingloss or speech impairment to use a textphone to communicate with standard mobileand landline systems. www.textrelay.orgAlternative formatsVisually impaired people and those withdyslexia favour audio formats such as mp3or CD Rom so, if possible, record your AccessStatement. You could also use audio as apromotional tool, for example a podcaston days out in the local area. Podcastsare audio or video files that people candownload onto portable media players.There are 10 million deaf and hard of hearingpeople in the UK. They tend to be proficientusers of the internet and often find SMStexting useful. Some deaf people who useBritish Sign Language (a visual languagewith its own grammar) identify themselvesnot as disabled, but as being part of aseparate linguistic and cultural group calledthe Deaf community. An interpreter would notbe expected but having a BSL signed DVD/podcast would be a resource that could beused again and again. It is often assumedthat a Deaf person will travel with a familymember or friend who will interpret on theirbehalf but this is not always the case.You are not expected to translate all ofyour print materials into all formats – thiswould be an unreasonable expectation. Forexample, Braille is a hard language to learnand is only used by 3% of visually impairedpeople. But it is recommended that yousearch out local suppliers so you couldsupply such formats if requested.The RNIB provides an excellentguide to producing informationin alternative formats called ‘Seeit Right’. Action on Hearing Loss(formerly RNID) provides excellentinformation on producing informationand communicating with deaf people.
13Holiday Inn has many accessible properties and offers free adjoining rooms forcarers, which it advertises on specialist websites such as the Good Access Guide.This fact is also well publicised by disabled people on forums.“Holiday Inns usually give you a free room for your carer if you are travellingwith a disabled person. Always worth asking when making a booking. They are alovely hotel chain and so helpful to disabled people.”Posted in April 2011 onwww.netbuddy.org.uk“We find that offering part weeks helps attract repeat visitors and extends theseason. For example, we have one guest who comes with a carer, out of seasontwice a year.We also have our pricing up on the website for two years ahead. This market plansa long time in advance!We try to maximize business through our ownmarketing, but during off peak we will use an onlinelisting such as Good Access Guide or DisabilityHolidays Guide, even though we have to paya commission.”Case Study:Holiday InnCase Study:Grindon Farm, NorthumberlandJackie Armstrongwww.grindonfarm.co.ukPricing incentivesPricing can be a key marketing tool for this group, which often has the flexibility to travelout of season or during school term time. Attractive incentives include a flexible cancellationpolicy, discounts for repeat and direct debit bookings, ability to book part of a week,discounted or free additional room for a carer and later checkout times.
14Providing reassuranceAll types of visitor accommodation can jointhe National Accessible Scheme. Run byVisitEngland, this classification system ratesyour business on its suitability for mobilityand/or hearing and/or visual impaired guests.Many businesses find that the NAS standardshelp them to improve their facilities and theratings provide reassurance to guests.The entry level standard is ‘One step ahead’,which covers the first stages in making aproperty or service accessible. The costdepends on the size of your business,and your membership and grading lastsfor 3 years.Even if your business has steps to the frontdoor and no ground floor rooms, you canstill achieve this standard. If a business isable to provide specific facilities for visuallyor hearing impaired people or wheelchairusers then it can be graded at the nextspecialist level in the NAS: V1 (VisualLevel One), H1 (Hearing Level One) and M1(Mobility Level One).“We use the National AccessibleScheme logos on our website,brochure and adverts. Someguests know the logos welland won’t book without them.They provide reassurance. Someguests are nervous, particularlyif they have had a previous badexperience. NAS certificationshows a certain standard hasbeen achieved. It can alsohelp when you are negotiatingadvertising rates in specialistmagazines – it has sometimeshelped reduce the rate!Disabled people are very loyalguests. One guest and his wifehave been 20 times in three orfour years – and they pay bydirect debit in advance.”Felicity BrownHoe Grange self-catering logcabins in the Peak District.Gold winner in the VisitEnglandAwards for Excellence 2011,‘Access for All’ category.www.hoegrangeholidays.co.ukCase Study:Hoe Grange Holidays, Derbyshire“As a frequent disabled traveller, I am heavily dependent on informationbeing reliable and accurate. For example, if door measurements are incorrectand I cannot fit through the door, the margin for error is nil and my trip ispretty much ruined. The Access Statement for the Thistle Atlantic Tower inLiverpool is an example of good practice.”Srin MadipalliOxford University student
15Section 3. Key marketing toolsYour Access StatementAn Access Statement is simply a list of allthe features in and around your property thatwill be of importance to people who have animpairment or access need. It is probably thesingle most important marketing tool thatyou can develop for your business:• It enables you to collate in one place allthe information that a disabled travellermay need before deciding to book or visit.• Disabled people look at AccessStatements before they book.• A number of online holiday directoriesrequire you to have an Access Statementbefore they will list you on their websites.Businesses often say that the processof gathering information for their AccessStatement helps them understand wherethere are gaps in provision and helps toengage staff.Case Study:Abbey Guest House, Abingdon“Guests usually find our websitethrough a Google search, so weoptimise it for searches using keywords such as ‘Access’. Then the firstthing people do is look at the AccessStatement. We provide measurementsas well as a floor plan and pictures.This is a very important part of mymarketing.”Terry BoswellHighly Commended in theVisitEngland Awards for Excellence2012, ‘Access for All’ category.www.abbeyguest.comVisitEngland provides a free and easy touse online Access Statement tool. Itgives you a tailored form to gather yourinformation and a template to upload yourbusiness details, providing a final documentfor you to download. You can save work inprogress and go back into it whenever youhave a moment.To start off you could ask a disabledperson to do it with you. When you havefinished and uploaded it onto your website,ask your guests to comment.www.visitengland.org/accessstatementsRemember that an AccessStatement is a summary ofwhat is on offer and is not ajudgement on your accessibility.The Statement should be accurateand factual. For example, neversay ‘we are accessible’, as thismeans different things to differentpeople. Simply audit yourbusiness and describe whatyou have.
16An accessible websiteAn accessible website makes sound businesssense. Research shows that accessiblewebsites are around 50% faster to navigatefor all audiences, and accessible content ishighly visible to search engines.• Keep your web pages clear anduncluttered. Reading on screen is 25%slower than on page, so structure contentin a logical order and use pictures, shortsnappy headlines and bulleted lists.Don’t use italics or CAPITALS for largeblocks of text. Ensure the text contrastswith the background.• Use simple formats without too manynavigation bars and provide a textequivalent for graphical elements.Provide a pull down menu of accessoptions, including changing the site tohigh contrast, zoom text or turn astyle off. Avoid embedding multi-mediatechnologies such as Flash. Audio andvideo content should not auto play unlessthe user knows this is going to happen.• People who find it hard to use a mouseuse a keyboard and the tab button.Blind people use screen readers (readingout entries and the set of commandsassociated to reach them - usually byBraille keyboard). Keep internet pagessimple and consistent, reduce tabs andprovide access via keys.• Disabled people tend to be big users ofmobile communications, so try and makeyour website ‘mobile friendly’.• In VisitEngland’s 2012 survey of disabledtravellers, 88% cited web downloads asvery or quite useful when arranging travel.But be careful how many PDFs you use –not all screen readers can read them.Take care with booking forms too.““We love a good breakevery year in the UKwith my grandma. Wewant good food andlots of things to seeand do in the area.Grandma’s wheelchair islight and she can walkshort distances, sowe can get into mostplaces. She just wantsa bedroom where thebathroom door is wideenough, but so fewpeople bother to putthat on the website.”Anna HawkinsUniversity student
17• Clearly signpost your Access Informationsection from your homepage. Make theinformation easy to find; do not buryit deep within the website or confusinglyinclude it with the description of thewebsite accessibility, often located inthe footer.• Once your website is accessible, produceguidance on ‘accessing this website’ atthe foot of the home page.There are international web accessibilitystandards called WAI guidelines. They arequite detailed but if you use a web designer,they should follow them.If you manage your own website then theBBC website provides some plain Englishguidance. Also see the excellent BBC casestudies on how people with disabilitiesuse websites.Accommodation managers and their webmanagers can find specific guidance on theTourism for All website.Improve interactionwith your website• Visually impaired people avoid internetbrowsers and opt for RSS, Google Alertsand mail alerts to keep them up todate, so set these up on your website.RSS stands for Really Simple Syndicationand it’s a free piece of software whichallows you to aggregate your newstogether in one place and allows yourcustomers to receive alerts from you.It’s a useful tool for all your customers.• Let your loyal customers bookmark, shareand recommend you. If you use socialmedia sites then highlight this on yourhome page. There are a numberof book marking ‘widgets’ such asAdd This that make it easy - with onequick download - to share yourinformation with social media. They aresmall, easy to install and some even offeranalytics features, although users have todouble click to get to the same page.Case Study:Brighton DomeBrighton Dome is an arts space,which presents and produces over600 events each year. Starting life200 years ago as the Prince Regent’sstables and riding house, it has somedifficult spaces to open up to disabledpeople, but it has a clear commitmentto do so.A comprehensive Access Statement isprovided on the website and is clearlysignposted on the home page.http://brightondome.org/access/• Start a blog and link it to your website.A blog is a personalised way to tellpeople about new facilities or a specialoffer. Regular blog entries can also help toboost your search engine rankings.Facebook Twitter Email PinterestRSS
18Brochures and printPrinted marketing tools are still valued bysome travellers, especially the older travelleror those who find computers hard to use.In VisitEngland’s 2012 survey of disabledtravellers, 86% cited brochures and leafletsas very or quite useful when arranging travel.How to make your basic printmaterial more accessible• Provide a strong contrast between thepaper and the text. Backgrounds shouldbe as pale as possible and printing ink asdark as possible. Black on yellow andblack on white are the best. White typeon a black or dark background can appearsmaller. Don’t put text over images.• Use 12 point type. 40% of the populationcannot easily read print below 12 pt. Avoidhighly stylised or ornate fonts. Sans seriffonts such as Arial, Gills Sans and Universdon’t have little ‘feet’ on the letters socan be easier to read. Avoid blocks oftext in capitals and italics. For a largeprint brochure you would typically use16 point minimum.• Strive for uncluttered design and layout.Structure content in a logical order anduse short snappy headlines and bulletedlists to break up copy. Use even wordspacing and don’t over fill the page.Avoid fitting text around illustrations.If your print includes a fill-in form, leavegenerous space for details that have to behand written. Use symbols where possible;these are good for non-English speakingvisitors too.• Avoid glossy paper as it causes glare. Verythin, semi-transparent papers can bedifficult as text can show through from thereverse. They can also be hard to handle.Content• Use lots of pictures and testimonials. Addany grading or awards logos.• People who cannot hear will write to youfor more information so put your fulladdress (and fax if you have one).• Add information on accessible routes,parking availability, travel information andaddresses for local tourist information.• Consider using a QRcode (Quick ResponseCode). This ‘bar code’ isunique to you. Add it toyour print literature.Users can then scan your brochure/printwith a mobile phone and bring up yourwebsite immediately.Distribute print to your localTourist Information Centre.Disabled travellers are bigusers of TICs in their search forholiday information and yet TICssay that few businesses think tosend them information.Section 4. Promoting your business
19Public relations and specialistdisability mediaAll media, and especially local papers, TVand radio, are looking for timely stories thatare of interest to their readers. For example,you may have just welcomed a Paralympianand family on holiday, or launchedan adapted attraction or self cateringaccommodation. Disability media will alsorun more specialist stories, for example ifyou have purchased a new shower hoist orare offering out of season discounts.Write a press release and stress the humanangle of the story, including a direct quote ortestimonial and provide pictures. Give yourmobile phone number to the editor so theycan get in touch with you directly. This couldinitiate a long term relationship too, as youbecome valuable to the editor as the ‘localexpert’.Most specialist magazines tend toconcentrate on mobility-related disabilitybut there are others, for example DeafLife,Vision (published by the RNIB) and EasyNews, the newly launched newspaper“I look for something that will make thestory stand out, for example if you havewon an award, or why you have gone theextra mile to cater for disabled people.I’d say that businesses are generallypoor at self-promotion. I write regularlyabout disability and travel issues, butI can hardly remember anyone makingcontact with me about the subject overthe past 15 years!”Fred MawerWriter of the Crafty Traveller columnfor the Mail on Sunday and regularcontributor to The Daily Telegraph.designed specifically for people with learningdisabilities. All these magazines provideadvertising as well as editorial opportunities.There are a number of specialist internet-based TV and radio programmes such as theBBC ‘See Hear’ programme but these tend toconcentrate on lifestyle and political issues.Disability Nowwww.disabilitynow.org.ukEnablehttp://enablemagazine.co.ukAble Magazinehttp://ablemagazine.co.uk0141 419 0044Pos-abilityhttp://posabilitymagazine.co.ukDisability Horizonshttp://disabilityhorizons.com/An online magazine including regular featureson accessible holidays in Britain written bydisabled people.Bi-monthly A4 full-colour publication on issues thatmatter to physically disabled people, circulation 32,000.Website also contains a digital edition and news.Enable magazine is a lifestyle magazine withsuggestions for holidays and days out.Bi-monthly news magazine in print and online, with afocus on sports activities and a section on holidays.An online magazine with news, debates, plus profilepages and adverts. 20,000 readers per monthMagazine Details
20““As a personwith no sight,I use the internetregularly to researchthe place I am headingto. I specifically useTwitter to speak withothers for advice andfeedback on places.Twitter’s keywordsearches provideinstant tweets on say‘accessible breaks’ or‘inclusive tourism’. Anycompany participatingin these Twitterstreams is more likelyto grab my attentionand my custom.”Paul NicholFounder of iCANExperiences.icanexperiences.co.ukSocial mediaDisabled people are relatively large usersof online social networks and blogs andvalue sharing information and testimonialsfirst hand.• Twitter is used by disabled travellers intwo ways. One is to follow key tweeters(bloggers, magazines etc.) and obtainrelevant information. The second wayis to build up a following of likemindedpeople, share information, and whennecessary ask a question from yourcommunity. If your business canparticipate in either of these then youwill start to attract a following toyour Twitter account.• Facebook is often more closed andused between friends. However, manycompanies and organisations have aFacebook page, finding it a usefulplatform to receive customer feedbackand promote their latest news.Although many social media sites cannot beread by screen readers, a whole raft of newaccessible applications have emerged in thelast few years such as Easy Chirp to readtweets on Twitter.Remember that social media outlets arevalued for providing advice and help. Youwould quickly lose all trust if you just usedthem to promote your company.• Start by telling your story – use news,articles, pictures and videos to share yourjourney and aims with your customer.People like human stories.• Build your community – respond torequests for information and start to buildtrust with your target audience.• Include a call to action – once people areengaged with you then you can announceyour latest discount or new service.There are many blogs written by disabledtravellers, which could give you anopportunity to provide information andadvice (as long as you clearly identifyyourself and your business as the source).Here is an example of a blog written bya wheelchair user based in South EastEngland who is interested in access to thecountryside and seaside. It was used byVisitBrighton recently to promote accessibleholidays: @WheelTravelBlog
21Hoe Grange Holidays usesTwitter and achieved a great dealof publicity around its new Boma7 (all terrain wheelchair), includinga radio interview with BBC RadioDerbyshire and a Tweet that wentglobal.‘We had tweeted about our newBoma 7 and were selected as a#SBS (Small Business Sunday)winner by business guru TheoPaphitis. Theo selects six Tweetseach week that catch his eye thenre-Tweets them to his 300,000+followers. As a result we have hada host of new followers on Twitterand lots of goodwill messages,particularly from the disabled sector– our target market!Case Study:Hoe Grange Holidays, DerbyshireBut we don’t see Twitter as abookings tool. In fact, we have onlyever taken one booking from itdirectly. The power of Twitter is thatit’s good for business to businesssupport and lets people know youare knowledgeable. We share whatwe are doing and can ask others forhelp, for example, what they woulddo in certain situations. We also useit to find out what is going on in thearea to tell guests.Felicity BrownHoe Grange Holidayswww.hoegrangeholidays.co.uk
22Review sites and forumsMany review sites and forums name checkaccessible accommodation and destinationsand activities for disabled people. Here area couple of the larger forums worth keepingan eye on, if only so you get a feel for thethings that disabled travellers need and, alltoo often, don’t get.• Trip Advisor Traveling withDisabilities Forum• Guardian Readers TipsSet up a Google Alert account (free downloadfrom Google). This will send you an alertanytime you appear on the internet so youcan quickly check what people have writtenabout you and respond if necessary.Mobile media and appsDisabled people tend to be enthusiasticmobile phone users and while there arefew disability specific apps as yet, disabledpeople are simply using many of themainstream ones in an inclusive way.For example, Foursquare is a geo satellitepositioning app showing cafes, bars,restaurants, museums, hotels and attractions.The user is able to ‘check in’ and sharetheir visit with their social media followingand users can leave a comment on theaccessibility of a place. There is not anaccessibility category as yet, but evenwithout it the site is likely to become wellused by disabled people.Disabled people download apps for blogs,magazines and news sites, so if you can getyourself published or listed by the publishersof these sites then you will find yourself ontheir apps too.
23Guide booksThere are two reasonably comprehensiveguidebooks to accessible holidays in Britain.They contain advice and guidance pluslistings of attractions, days out, travel, andaccommodation. Most of the companieslisted have been assessed or accredited insome way. Both accept advertising.• The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain,produced by Motability, is availableonline or in hard copy. It covers the UKand runs offers for its readers online.• Holidays in the British Isles is a guideto holidaymaking for disabled peoplepublished by Disability Rights UK.Online holiday listingsMany travellers with access needs,particularly when travelling with friendsand relatives, are looking for mainstreamaccommodation and activities, anduse mainstream websites. Accessibilitysearches are increasingly appearing onaccommodation websites, for examplePremier Cottages has ‘graded accessible’and ‘ground floor facilities’ search functions.FarmStay UK has a search facility thatincludes all the National Accessible Schemelevels.Listings such as HomeAway and LateRoomsare beginning to add ‘disability’ or‘accessibility’ buttons to their search engines.However the few accessible properties onthem are generally self-certified and usersstill have to visit the owner websites foraccurate information. These sites are notused hugely by disabled travellers.On the next page there is a list of onlinespecialist directories. Most were foundedby people who are wheelchair users, hadproblems finding information on accessibleholidays and wanted to help others.They range widely in their scope and style.Listing charges range from free to over£100 per year. Some charge a commissionon bookings made.Most offer you the chance to upload yourown information and update with specialoffers as the season goes on. Most of themalso require a self-certification that you areaccessible, but some do require an AccessStatement, NAS rating or even a visit by thewebsite owners.Section 5. Using listings, agenciesand operators
24Online holiday guides and directories DetailsListings of accessible accommodation in England,Ireland and overseas. Free basic listing, with enhancedadvertising from £50 per year.Personally inspected UK holiday accommodation forpeople with disabilities. Free listing, commission onbookings made.New guide to UK accessible hotels, restaurants, pubsand visitor attractions in the UK.Well established site listing facilities for the disabled oncaravan sites.Online search facility listing all members of theVisitEngland National Accessible Scheme, Tourism forAll and DisabledGo: 6,000 places to stay and 1,300places to visit. All businesses are quality assessedor self-certified. Basic entry is free. Enhanced entriesstart at £60 and include Tourism for All membership.The newly relaunched site also provides free entrylevel use of back office system GuestLink. Applaunching summer 2013.Listings of shops, restaurants, health and leisurevenues by local authority area. Receives 1,000unique users every day. If your local authority usesDisabledGo you may receive a free audit and listingon DisabledGo with a link through to your website.Adverts cost up to £750 a year for premier positioningon every page. Available as a free iTunes app.A collection of bed and breakfasts, B&B inns, guesthouses and small hotels with some ‘hand-picked’accessible places to stay. Small fee to advertise and acommission payable on booking.Direct Enquiries’ holiday and leisure site. Alsoavailable as a free iTunes app. Your listing alsoappears on www.directenquiries.com. The threecombined sites receive 20 million hits a month.Basic information displayed free of charge. To raiseyour business higher up the search engine resultsyou need to pay for an onsite access audit.Advice and listings on accessible holidayaccommodation, attractions and activities in theNorth, Midlands and South West. Some of theaccommodation is visited and marked as such.International and UK accessible properties withabout 600 properties (including log cabins andcaravans) in England. Free listing with commissionpayable on transaction.Online travel directory offering information and linksto accessible holidays in the UK and worldwide.About 15,000 site visits a year. You can promoteyour property on the website for a fee.Published by Able Magazine, this guide includestravel advice plus listings of accommodationrecommended by readers.Accessible Accommodationwww.accessibleaccommodation.comCan Do Holidayswww.candoholidays.comAccessible Livingwww.accessibleliving.co.uk07794 548 077Caravanablewww.caravanable.co.ukOpen Britainwww.openbritain.netDisabled Gowww.disabledgo.comwww.myaccessbritain.comwww.myaccesslondon.comEnjoy Bed & Breakfastwww.enjoybedandbreakfast.com/england/disabled/Inclusive Britain and Inclusive Londonwww.inclusivebritain.comwww.inclusivelondon.com01344 360101Disabled Holiday Informationwww.disabledholidayinfo.org.ukDisabled Holidays Directorywww.disabledholidaydirectory.co.ukDisability Holidays Guidewww.disabilityholidaysguide.comAble Magazine Travel Holiday Guidehttp://travelguide2010.co.uk
25Accessibility lifestyle guidesThese disability lifestyle guides also include leisure and holidays listingsGuide DetailsOffers listings of accommodation, attractions and ideasfor days out. Commission on bookings made. Requiresyou to provide an Access Statement.List of accessible hotels, adapted vehicles,equipment and holiday packages. Listing £75 peryear. Requires you to complete your own AccessStatement template before listing.Directory of links to disability, mobility andhealth websites in the UK and Europe, with someaccommodation listings.Holiday accommodation and leisure activities. Costfor an advert on the website start at £20 per year.This national charity website lists holiday ideas,attractions and audited accommodation that are TfAmembers. Small business membership costs £35 peryear or £50 to include a listing in Open Britain.Good Access Guidewww.goodaccessguide.co.uk01502 566005Access At Lastwww.accessatlast.com01772 814555ABLEizewww.ableize.comDisability Worldwww.disabilityworld.net0794 641 5312Tourism for Allwww.tourismforall.org.uk
26Tour operatorsSpecialist tour operators and agents may accept an offer of a familiarisation visit.Operator DetailsInternational travel and tourism thathelps to support local communities.Has some UK holidays and has recentlybranched out into disabled travel.This specialist overseas travel agentalso has a listing of accessible holidayaccommodation in England.Specialist since 1985, offering pioneeringwheelchair accessible holidaysworldwide and in the UK.Specialises in overseas holidays but hassome UK properties.Responsible Travelwww.responsibletravel.com/holidays/disabled-travelDisabled Access Holidayswww.disabledaccessholidays.comCan Be Done Holidayshttp://www.canbedone.co.uk/020 8907 2400Accessible Travel and Leisurewww.accessibletravel.co.uk01452 729739
27Here are some low-cost ideas that couldgenerate publicity.Accessibility awardsA successful application can provide a usefulsource of publicity.• VisitEngland Access for All Award• Cateys Accessibility Award• Disabled Motoring UK• Meetings and Incentive TravelAccess Excellence AwardSection 6. Other marketing anglesDisability showsThe majority of exhibitors at these shows aredisability equipment suppliers. The largestinclude hundreds of exhibitors with someleisure, sports and holiday stands.• The Mobility Roadshow - 30 years oldand the UK’s original hands-onconsumer event, every June.• Naidex - the UK’s largest disability,homecare and rehabilitation eventfor trade and consumers, every May.• Disability Awareness Day - Europe’slargest ‘not for profit’ voluntary-leddisability exhibition, held annuallynear Warrington, has holiday andleisure exhibitors.Marketing partnershipsLocal specialist retailers could provide anoutlet for a listing or a special offer. You canfind a list of specialist equipment retailerson the British Healthcare Trades Associationwebsite. The Holidays in the British Islesguide by Disability Rights UK, providesa comprehensive list of specialist leisureactivities, travel organisers and providersaround the country.Care homesCould you create links with your localresidential care home? They tend to taketheir residents on short breaks in off peakperiods. Be aware that they could havehigher level needs for services and facilitiesthan other disabled visitors.“We exhibit at the big shows. Wemeet potential holidaymakers aswell as people like physiotherapists,suppliers and care providers whothen recommend us to their clients.It’s not expensive if you team upwith others. We are part of a groupof twelve holiday companies, called‘Holidays for All’. Altogether I onlypay £750 a year to exhibit at all themajor fairs and produce our jointbrochure and website.”Tess GilderManager, Park House Hotel,Kings Lynn.www.holidaysforall.org
28The winner of the annual Disabled Motoring Awards UK 2012 was Irton HouseFarm, which provides wheelchair accessible holiday cottages on a working sheepfarm in the Lake District. The Disabled Motoring UK member who nominated itpraised the wonderful hospitality and described Irton House Farm as “a placewhere I feel safe, extremely comfortable, able to cope and enjoy a wonderfulholiday, where being disabled makes no difference whatsoever”. Irton House usesthe award prominently on its home page’.“We were pleased to have this accolade because it helps to bring us toprominence. So many customers say “I wish we had found you sooner”. Weadvertise in various magazines targeting disabled people, such as The StrokeMagazine and Arthritis Now, and also in local newspapers. We have several guestswho have come to us through Disabled Motoring UK and this Award hopefullywill attract more.”Joan AlmondIrton House Farmwww.irtonhousefarm.comCase Study:Irton House Farm, Cumbria
29Making your business accessibleVisitEngland provides guidance, casestudies, videos and toolkits to helpbusinesses improve accessibility atwww.visitengland.org/access• At Your Service outlines the marketsize and the business case forimproving accessibility• Easy Does It provides simple andlow-cost changes to improve accessibilitywww.visitengland.com/easydoesit• Online disability awareness training isa short online course from Disabled Goand VisitEngland with five free trainingspaces per business (subject toavailability) www.disabledgo.com/tourismtraining• National Accessible Scheme (NAS)and the entry level One step aheadhelps accommodation providers improveand promote their accessibilitywww.visitengland.org/nasAt the back of the National AccessibleScheme standards booklet you will findcontact details for a range of organisationsincluding equipment suppliers such asBritish Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA)http://www.bhta.net Tel: 020 7702 2141.Tourism for All provides comprehensivebusiness advice and trainingwww.tourismforall.org.ukSection 7. Further helpWelcome All and WorldHost disabilityawareness training http://www.visitengland.org/busdev/bussupport/training/customer-service-training/worldhost.aspxImproving your marketingcommunicationsVisitEngland’s Online Access StatementTool provides guidance and templates tocomplete an Access Statementwww.visitengland.org/accessstatementsChartered Institute of Marketing providesguidance and some online free resourceswww.cim.co.ukTourism for All provides guidanceon making communications accessiblewww.tourismforall.org.uk/Easy-access-tips.htmlSee it Right is a practical guide in CDRomformat from RNIB on making informationaccessible for people with sight problemswww.rnib.org.uk, email@example.com or call0303 123 9999. Order code PR12098CDR.Cost £15Listen Up! booklet by VisitEngland andAction on Hearing Loss, provides tips andadvice to welcoming customers with hearingloss www.visitengland.org/accessSociability: Social media for people with adisability is an excellent guide from Australiaon how to use social media to reach peoplewith disabilities http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/sites/default/files/files/MAA2657-%20Report-OnlineVersion.pdf
30The Government’s Office for DisabilityIssues has a useful section oncommunicating to disabled peoplehttp://odi.dwp.gov.uk/inclusive-communications/index.phpThe Sign Design Society promotesexcellence in signing and wayfindingwww.signdesignsociety.co.ukMakaton is a language programmeusing signs and symbols for people withcommunication and learning difficultieswww.makaton.orgWebsite accessibilityBBC staff guidelines on making websitesaccessible www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/futuremedia/accessibilityWebsite Accessibility Initiative (WAI)provides definitive and internationallyaccepted guidelines for accessible webcommunications www.w3.org/WAIRNIB information on making websitesaccessible http://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/webaccessibility/designbuild/Pages/design_build.aspxBecoming disability-awareOuch! is a BBC blog and internet talk showreflecting disability life in general as well asholidays and leisure http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ouch/2012/07/disabled_people_doing_holidays.htmlThe Trip Advisor Traveling with DisabilitiesForum hosts debates and reviews http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowForum-g1-i12336-Traveling_With_Disabilities.htmlThe Guardian readers’ travel tipshttp://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/aug/24/readers-tips-accessible-holidaysThe Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes theinclusion of disabled people in the workplaceand in society. Informative and comprehensivewebsite covering employment practiceshttp://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/Two government reports outline the scopeand case for incorporating disabled people inday to day business activity:• ‘Fulfilling Potential: Building a deeperunderstanding of disability in the UKtoday’ (February 2013) http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/fulfilling-potential/index.php• ‘2012 legacy for disabled people: Inclusiveand accessible business’ (August 2010)https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/31715/10-1126-2012-legacy-for-disabled-people-case-for-the-disabled-customer.pdfContact usIf you have any examples of marketing your accessibility that are not covered in thisguide, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
31This guide was researched and written for VisitEngland by Access New Business www.accessnewbusiness.co.uk