SWITCH is the new way of thinking. To understand the profits and benefits of great accessibility, businesses in the travel industry need to start to SWITCH.

hotel entrance ramp wheelchair access
Accessible hotel entrance

S – Should

S – SHOULD you make your property accessible? Is it mandatory? Morally right? Is it about being kind? Should you be serious about it, should you be professional about it?

photo braille menu
Large font and braille menu available in a restaurant

W – Would

W – WOULD you consider investments in accessible design when renovating, redecorating? Would you be willing to think in inclusive, universal design? Would you ask your (future) customers, with a disability, for advice?

accessible hotels
manual and power wheelchair at a hotel reception desk

I – I versus them

I – I VERSUS THEM, is a common setting in all areas in life. However, considering 1 billion people having a disability, some 20% of the world population, there is no room for I versus them.
Babyboomers getting older, traveling the world, is not a group to ignore. Moreover, people with disabilities live everywhere, they are of all ages, and love to travel.

In 2000, 69 million persons were over 80 (in 1950 persons over 80 numbered less than 14 million).

In 1950, 1 in 15 persons aged 60 or older was 80 or above; in 2000, this ratio increased to 1 in 9 and by 2050 it is expected to increase to approximately 1 in 5*.

danielle en collin met assistentiehond
Visually impaired models with their assistance dogs at the official opening of the exposition of the book ‘My vision’

T – Tomorrow

T – TOMORROW it will be accessible, we are working on it, it has no priority at the moment, we have more important issues on the agenda, we have no budget … procrastination will be the biggest factor causing profit loss in the near future. Investments are to be made only once, for most services and facilities.

Today the current numbers of non accessible hotels, resorts, museums, restaurants, parks around the world are still quite high. Tomorrow you will be ahead of many, if you SWITCH to ‘accessible’ today.

Alicante airport Spain

C – Cannot

C – CANNOT do not will not. A majority of entrepreneurs and business people do not even consider investing in accessibility.

Accessible toilets, braille, using modern technology such as customer services apps, ramps, bars, lowered counters, high/low beds, sign language basics, information on accessibility of properties and services available on websites, etc etc.

Without doing the math, actually calculating costs, considering long term profit and benefits. That is something that needs to change.

Because if you do not welcome 1 person in a family of 4 or 5, you miss out on not ‘only’ 1 customer, but 4 or 5. Families, friends, having a person with a disability in their circle, will ALWAYS look for that great accessible place.

Goodbye in many languages sign

H – Happiness

H – HAPPINESS as the ultimate goal. That is what life is about, isn’t it? Spending time together, having a coffee or chocolate pie. Saving up to make that trip where you can enjoy the best city vibes, the most stunning sunsets or the most exciting music or art scene.

we all love to travel

TRAVEL IS THE BEST HAPPINESS GUIDE

Please focus on the happiness. Also, read this article ‘Let’s get personal’

* UN report on World Population Ageing 1950-2050 read more here

This article was first published at LinkedIn