SWITCH a new way of thinking
SWITCH a new way of thinking
This article was published for the first time October 2018, on LinkedIn and has been updated January 2, 2020.
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.
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?
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?
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 are getting older and they are traveling the world. Certainly 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*.
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.
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.
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.
TRAVEL IS THE BEST HAPPINESS GUIDE
Please focus on the happiness. Also, read this article ‘Let’s get personal’
Travel is the best soul food. For everyone. It is great for body, mind and soul. Therefore it is very important to have that ramp at your restaurants entrance.
To have your beach trax pathway available if you own a beach hotel or resort. To train your staff, about guests with assistance dogs, or hearing loss. What to do in case of an emergency? Have your alarm system updated. Have ADAPTS transfer slings available. In the airplanes, at the airports, in hotels.
But most importantly, take a few minutes to realize accessibility serves all. If not the person using a wheelchair, or a cane, than for sure the company he is with. Friends, family, partners. And think about it, a disability knows no race, no status, no age, no being rich or poor. It is there from birth, or just like that.
* UN report on World Population Ageing 1950-2050 read more here
This article was first published at LinkedIn