Opening an accessible hotel can be a good opportunity in the tourism and hospitality market. This is because accessibility has become a key concept that redefines the traveler experience.
Growing awareness of the importance of making spaces and services inclusive has led to the emergence of accessible hotels. These seek to meet the needs of a wide range of guests, including those with disabilities.
In this article, we will address some issues that you should consider if you want to develop an accessible hotel. So we invite you to continue reading.
TO OPEN AN ACCESSIBLE HOTEL WE MUST KNOW ITS DEFINITION
An accessible hotel is characterized by being a hotel establishment that has been meticulously adapted to allow comfortable access for people with various disabilities. This approach is not limited only to the main entrance of the hotel or its lobby, but extends to all rooms and services of the establishment, with the aim of guaranteeing a barrier-free experience.
By prioritizing the optimization of accessibility in all areas of the hotel, it is made a suitable place for the greatest number of people possible, providing total comfort and safety to all guests. The philosophy of these hotels goes beyond simply complying with mandatory regulations and standards. It’s about proactively tailoring your services to stand out and demonstrate the benefits of your establishment compared to others.
Accessibility becomes synonymous with quality. Therefore, it stands as one of the fundamental pillars that must be incorporated into the services offered by a hotel. Since the goal is to provide the best possible experience to all its visitors.
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES AS A HOTEL MARKET SEGMENT
When considering opening an accessible hotel, it is important to recognize that people with reduced mobility or some limitation can be considered clients. However, they do not constitute a homogeneous group when considered as consumers. Therefore, segmenting this group into subcategories adapted to each type of disability can provide competitive advantages to hotel establishments.
On the other hand, the majority of people with reduced mobility show consumption patterns perfectly comparable to other market segments. Well, these can share relevant aspects of their life, such as age. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair generally has a natural desire to enjoy the same activities in the hotel as anyone else of the same age. Of course, removing those activities that may represent a risk to your health or safety.
Therefore, if you want to open an accessible hotel it seems appropriate to segment based on criteria such as age. This facilitates the participation of a wide spectrum of disabilities in the hotel’s facilities and services. In turn, a logical and fluid integration is promoted.
There are various categorizations of limitations. From purely medical approaches focused on the underlying impairment to categorizations that assess levels of autonomic functioning, such as severe, moderate or mild.
This categorization task is complicated due to the wide variety of factors that influence any possible category. Therefore, having professional help from companies such as a hotel consultancy can be important to achieve good segmentation.
Furthermore, there is a risk of encouraging unwanted homogenization of travelers based on their personal characteristics. This could offset the benefits of segmentation, such as personalization of services and better adaptation of facilities.
SOME CONSIDERATIONS THAT ENCOURAGE OPENING AN ACCESSIBLE HOTEL
There are considerations and realities that can encourage opening an accessible hotel. Here are some:
The market for people with reduced mobility can be highly lucrative for the travel and hospitality industry. But it is necessary to focus appropriately. These consumers do not necessarily have extraordinary income, but they may have financial resources that allow them to travel regularly, especially during vacations, family visits and medical care.
When offering online booking services, hotels should take into account that most people with moderate or severe imitations usually travel with companions, who often make prior arrangements. Therefore, addressing these people directly can be beneficial.
Accommodation establishments must direct efforts towards capturing the market for people with motor limitations. Well, these consumers tend to be very loyal to destinations that show sensitivity to their needs, without falling into overprotective attitudes. This involves not only complying with legal regulations, but also training employees to provide adequate service to people with disabilities and anticipate the needs of their companions.
Those who wish to open an accessible hotel must consider that most people with reduced mobility or limitations are sensitive to the economic conditions and cost of their tourist experience. Therefore, it is advisable to offer reasonable financial conditions without compromising the quality of the services provided.
Despite the obvious differences in the realities of travelers with mobility limitations compared to other travelers, they share many common needs. It is essential to develop inclusive strategies that meet both their physical and emotional needs. Evidence shows that improvements aimed at people with reduced mobility are also valued and appreciated by travelers without disabilities.
RELATING REDUCED MOBILITY AND THE TOURIST EXPERIENCE TO OPEN AN ACCESSIBLE HOTEL
The tourist experience is based on a constant interaction between two aspects. The first refers to the unique experiences we live, often the main reason behind our trips. And the second is about the necessary acts of consumption that satisfy our needs and give us comfort to make the most of those experiences.
The tourist’s usual practices, his daily routines, allow him to maintain fundamental aspects of his daily life even in new environments. For example, trying new dishes in a tourist destination is not only an opportunity to experience new emotions for the traveler, but also a necessary form of consumption that drives business and generates income.
However, the experience becomes even more rewarding when the tourist can count on their usual medication to facilitate digestion, their favorite drink or the expectation of enjoying more familiar meals at other times of the trip.
In the context of opening an accessible hotel, the owner must understand that any of the aforementioned approaches are equally valid for the mobile tourist. Well, they also look for extraordinary experiences, to satisfy their consumption desires and, among them, their needs for daily routines.
The hotel or hotel establishment, within this model, can influence all these levels. It can provide an exceptional traveler experience by satisfying traveler curiosity, offering surprises, and introducing new entertainment options. At the same time, it must meet essential consumer needs and provide an environment of calm and comfort for relaxation.
It is evident that accessibility conditions play a crucial role in this context. Therefore, they are a fundamental requirement of the service, especially for those people with limitations, whether permanently or temporarily, who have additional needs in this regard.
In a constantly evolving world, the hospitality and travel industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation, where accessibility is a central pillar. By opening an accessible hotel, you not only contribute to the inclusion of people with disabilities, but also expand the reach and attraction of the establishment to a diverse and demanding audience.
The proactive adaptation of services and attention to individual needs translate into an enriching tourist experience for all guests. Ultimately, developing an accessible hotel is not only a step towards more inclusive tourism, but also a financial opportunity.