A lot has been written about accessible and inclusive tourism. It’s a pity we are still writing. Economic evidence, training packages, and guidelines have made some progress over the years. But we are not there yet. And it gets more complex. We’ve moved on from a ramp for wheelchair access to considering many other disabilities. Here are 3 key changes for hotels and airlines for people with cognitive conditions.
Fodor’s travel blog has an article on how travel companies can make people with cognitive conditions feel welcome. People who are neurodiverse, have a mental health condition or an intellectual disability like to travel too.
First, don’t assume you know what neurodiverse people need based on one person you know who is autistic.
Secondly, train your staff. A ramp and automatic door do not compensate for the fear or discomfort in the eyes of a frontline person who is alarmed or rude to a person who displays neurodiversity.
Third, offer alternative check-in times for people requiring a low sensory experience for themselves or a member of their family. If that is not feasible perhaps a quiet room to complete the process.
People with cognitive or intellectual disability might need things simplified. That includes things like the check-in process itself, not just writing information in plain language. Streamlined check in and clear information are good for everyone – it’s universal design.
When it comes to airlines, the same things apply, but there is one extra thing. Staff need training on how to handle wheelchairs properly – carefully like golf clubs.
The title of the blog article is How the travel industry can become more accessible for all. It has lots of advertisements which distract from reading.
Airbnb for everyone
Now that Airbnb has taken over Accomable, they are able to offer more information about the accessibility of destinations and places to stay. Airbnb has introduced 24 filters that help travellers find listings that meet their specific needs, including roll-in-showers and step free access to rooms. The Assistive Technology Blog shows in detail how the site can be used.