The Inclusive Hotels Network has published a guide for including people with hearing loss. The guide includes the business case, customer profiles, fixtures and fittings, technology, customer service and management systems. It also has a section on the different terms and types of hearing loss. The experiences people who are deaf or hard of hearing have in day to day life are also covered. And this includes hotel employees as well as guests. Many of the design suggestions seem to be common sense when they are drawn to our attention, and they are often simple minor but important details. However, guides such as these are needed to spell out this “common sense”. An excellent and easy to read resource.
Similarly to Australia, one in six people in the UK have hearing loss and almost half are of working age, so it is not just about older age.
Yet another excellent resource for the tourism and travel industry – an industry now leading the way in best practice. Importantly, the principles and learnings from case studies can be applied everywhere. The business world should take note of the good advice in Destinations for All: A guide to creating accessible destinations.
Included in the guide are several case studies, some statistics on the number of people left out if the destination if it is not inclusive, engaging with other businesses, and dispelling myths. It even challenges the notion that heritage issues make it impossible by showcasing the Roman Baths project. This guide is informed by research and can be applied as much to a day out in Sydney or Melbourne as a two week holiday in Scotland.
One of the first centres for universal design was set up in Japan, so it is no real surprise that Japan Airlines is pushing Boeing to re-think aircraft and air travel design especially as they not only employ many older workers, they also want to appeal to the older traveller. Anthropologist Kenneth C Erickson writes a very interesting chapteron this in Handbook of Anthropology in Business, which is available from Google books. He covers the whole travel experience from a user perspective using ethnographic techniques. It seems that Boeing, in trying to make the flight experience more convenient, might be adopting universal design principles without perhaps realising it. Here is an an excerpt from the latter part of the text:
“Boeing knows how important it is to see where you are, where you are going, and what things look like outside the airplane window. They’ve reconfigured the interior of the new Dreamliner so that windows are … roughly eye-level. The carbon-fiber fuselage allows greater structural strength and affords bigger windows, while light-sensitive glass obviates the need for those window shades that used to be difficult for passengers to manage […] And although we think of Boeing as making only the airplane, they also make jet-bridges and some of the display technology that shows seat availability for passengers waiting at the gate. This is evidence that Boeing already knows that air travel does not begin when passengers enter the plane; it is not inconceivable that they may broaden their view of travel further and include the entire process of baggage handling, making it, too, more transparent. […] And the work of flight attendants on the ground and in the air … can be made visible and appreciated, so they in turn may see and appreciate those whose bodies – and luggage – they care for. That’s where universal design fosters a good kind of globalization: through it we recognize our common, traveling humanity, and the difference between the temporarily able-bodied and the other dissolves, for a time, into thin air.”
The title of the chapter is, Able to Fly: Temporality, Visibility & the Disabled Airline Passenger, in Handbook of Anthropology in Business, 2016
Bill Forrester writes in his latest blog post that one problem of moving from the medical model of disability to the social model, is that the issue of rights seems to take centre stage and the discussion of economic benefits gets lost. Tourism and travel is a perfect example of where many economic gains can be made. Too often travel and tourism companies forget that people with disability travel with families and friends. Consequently the losses are far more than just one potential customer. Disability is classified as something different and around that a set of preconceptions are built that shield it from a market view, says Forrester. There is a link to his research on the blog page. He argues that preferences for holidays are the same as the general population. I can attest to that.
Editor’s Note: I have just returned from two weeks on the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia. If you don’t know this area, it is desert – sand dunes, and a 2000km string of wells built for cattle and their drovers in a past time. The road is sand, the shelter is the tent you put up each night and take down each morning, and the transport is 4×4 or better still, 6×6 vehicles. On my trip were 18 passengers and 4 drivers. No passenger was under the age of 60 and the eldest was 86. Older people clearly want to keep doing the things they’ve always done. The spirit of adventure lives on! Jane Bringolf.
The top picture was taken at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore, and the lower picture is of the 18 passengers and 4 drivers on the Canning Stock Route trip.
The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a great toolkit on improving tourism business by applying the principles of universal design. The video below shows four case studies that reduced their complaints and increased their sales by following the advice in the toolkit. You can see more on the toolkit pageof the CEUD website. There is also an Irish Standard, I.S.373 “Universal Design for Customer Engagement in Tourism Services” available from SAI Global. There does not seem to be an Australian equivalent.
Tree Tops Crazy Rider offers fun for all ages and abilities. The video link shows people having fun. The ride, which is located on the Central Coast, is accessible inasmuch as it can be in a natural environment. The information below the video link provides details on how people with disability can participate. The main website provides the general details including costs and opening times. Go to the Crazy Rider section and scroll down for the information about the accessible ride available on the Central Coast.
The site states, “The Crazy Riders are accessible to people with a wide range of physical, sensory and mental abilities, including people who use wheelchairs. Our professional team members provide expert assistance with equipment and safety requirements. Should you have any questions prior to booking or your visit, please email or phone us”.
“This special issue was designed to examine the future dimensions of the intersection of disability and tourism in the emerging field of accessible tourism. The special issue explores theoretical approaches, foundations and issues in the study of accessible tourism from a futures perspective. Accessible tourism, as with any area of academic study is an evolving field of academic research and industry practice, set within a dynamic social context. The field is interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary, and is influenced by geography, ageing and disability studies, economics, public policy, psychology, law, architecture, construction sciences, technology and marketing. Past research has attempted to view, explain and unpack the inherent complexities (Darcy, 2010) within accessible tourism through a variety of lenses, including human rights, critical tourism, embodiment, customer segmentation and universal design (UD), to name a few (see Buhalis and Darcy, 2011; Buhalis et al., 2012).”
In this four minute video Professor Simon Darcy explains businesses can fall into the trap of thinking people with disability make up a very tiny part of the market, because they forget the friends and family members who might be travelling with them. This video was made for New Zealand Tourism. It is captioned.
Edited transcript from live captioning of John Evernden‘s presentation.
Synopsis: John outlines some of the simple things that can make travel and touring more inclusive and convenient for everyone, and how simple things such as being able to fit the electric jug under the tap at the hand basin are important considerations for everyone.
Synopsis: This presentation explains the importance of customer service in tourism, and that many tourists now, and in the future, will have a disability and many more will be ageing. Gearing up as in industry in Australia has been slow and there are missed opportunities. Bill Forrester uses examples from overseas to show how we can improve the design of tourism opportunities.