The economic impact of travelers with disabilities in North America is currently estimated at $40 billion. This takes into account their own travel spending, as well as money spent by their travel companions, since people with disabilities don’t typically travel alone.
Travel spending in the disability sector is rising significantly, and continues to rise. In fact, it has risen 27% over the past 13 years. This is just one of the insights shared in our new infographic, “The Travel Experience for People with Disabilities.”
The need for accessible travel information to be available and reliable has never been higher than it is today.
When people with disabilities travel, they often have very specific accessibility needs. Their modes of transportation, their destinations and their accommodations must all meet their individual requirements. These travelers also need to have information about accessibility in advance, so they can make their plans accordingly. Furthermore, they need this travel information to be in an accessible format.
Yet multiple sources, including Open Doors Organization and Mobility International USA, report that travelers with disabilities routinely come up against barriers.
The infographic shares some of the essential ways that travelers with disabilities require accommodation, and outlines solutions to overcoming barriers. For instance, three out of five travelers with disabilities are using the Internet as their primary source of information before booking their trips. They are twice as likely to make flight and hotel reservations online as they are by phone. These statistics demonstrate the importance of accessible online reservations systems and accessible web-based information. Too often, travel websites are inaccessible due to barriers such as a lack of video captioning, or an inability to be navigated by keyboard.
Travelers with disabilities may be searching for information such as whether a roll-in shower or a lift-equipped tour bus is available. But they also want the same information that other travelers look for, such as a hotel’s check-in time, the meeting place for a tour group, or a museum’s visiting hours. If a website is not barrier-free, even these details are obscured from view by a potential traveler with a disability.
When travel websites include barriers, people with disabilities may attempt to get the information they need or make their bookings by placing phone calls to front desks or tour operators, needlessly wasting time and resources. Many other people, however, will look for a different travel website, and ultimately book their trips elsewhere. Some people opt to stay home instead of traveling. According to Open Doors Organization, many people with disabilities say they’d travel and spend more if their needs were better met.
The organization’s 2015 Market Study1 reported that people with disabilities often rely on word of mouth when they’re making their travel plans. If a colleague or friend has a negative encounter with a brand, what is the likelihood they’ll recommend it to someone else? On the other hand, if a traveler with a disability is delighted by their barrier-free experience, they will spread the word.
Click here to view our infographic “The Travel Experience for People with Disabilities” and find out how you can enhance the experience of prospective travelers with disabilities when they visit your website.
An Innovative Solution
eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY has developed a comprehensive accessibility solution to help organizations follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and achieve and maintain compliance with standards and regulations. This includes integrating web compliance evaluation services with assistive technology to deliver a transformative experience for people with disabilities. Learn more about eSSENTIAL ACCESSIBILITY’s innovative solution.
- 2015 Market Study Open Doors Organization, 2015.