Disabled people being denied full access to hospitality

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Disabled being denied full access to hospitality

Related tags: Disabled customers, Disability

Disabled people are being denied some of the pleasures of eating and drinking out because of inaccessible or difficult to navigate venues and websites and poor customer service, a new report by the Business Disability Forum has found.

Researching what disabled consumers choose to buy and why, the hospitality-specific report – part of a wider series – found that 85% of disabled consumers said disability or access needs influenced their choice of restaurant, café or pub, with almost half (45%) feeling that their choice was limited on this basis.

The desire to go out and spend money is there, but many disabled customers feel unable to do so as they are unable to get in and around hospitality spaces, stated the report.

It found that disabled consumers choose to spend their money at venues that have either provided them with good information and service before or had been positively reviewed by other disabled customers.

The report recommended several simple steps that hospitality businesses could take to benefit all consumers, not just those with a disability.

These included ensuring that websites and apps were fully accessible and easy to navigate – this includes details of the food and drinks on offer, which customers who are visually impaired may find difficult to find or read.

Showing pictures of the venue, with descriptions, which allow consumers to see or read about the environment and make their own judgements about accessibility; indicating where toilets are situated and if they are accessible; and noting any issues with access in relation to the venue, such as whether there are any steps.

Other recommendations were to provide quieter or less bright/dark areas in the venue and tell people how to book these tables in advance, and to give details of how to get to the venue, from transport locations to details about parking, including the distance from the door.

Some of the feedback from disabled customers in the report also noted that a venue’s idea about what was accessible often differs from the reality for a disabled person.

“They say the place is wheelchair accessible, but I can go there and the doorway is too narrow or there is a threshold,” said one respondent.

There are 14.1 million people in the UK with a disability or condition – this represents 22% of the total population and 19% of working adults.

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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