Sunday, September 13, 2015

5 of the Easiest Ways that Holiday Accommodation Providers Can Cater to Wheelchair Users

Guest post by Andrew Atkinson 

Providers of accommodation for holidays and adventure breaks don’t always think of wheelchair users. There are laws, rules and regulations in place, yet many accommodation providers think that it’s difficult to meet those requirements. Actually, there are some very simple things that can be done to make a big improvement. Here are five of the easiest, quickest and most affordable adaptations:
Solid Floors
Adaptations indoors might include replacing carpet with hard flooring. Outside, smooth paths are infinitely better than gravel paths (or no paths at all!). It doesn’t take much to add tiles/laminate to rooms and to create paths that are suitable for wheelchairs, yet these changes to a building will make a dramatic difference to the experience of a wheelchair user.
Ensure that someone has access to all levels of accommodation by installing at least one elevator. These can be standard elevators, or ones specifically for wheelchair users that are usually simple moving platforms with full manual control. Dedicated elevators for wheelchair users can be moved up and down manually, and have doors that can be pulled open and manually closed, so that users don’t find themselves racing against automatic doors.
Automatic Doors
On the subject of automatic doors, these quick and easy adaptations in other parts of a property can really help a wheelchair user. It can be hard, sometimes impossible, to push open a door whilst also wheeling through it. An automatic door, perhaps with push button access, will open hands-free.
Accessible Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Providing accessible sleeping accommodation will open accommodation providers to a wider range of potential visitors. People look specifically for wheelchair friendly accommodation – the more accessible the better. Extra wide doors are a starting point, but additions such as grab rails, hoists, motorised beds and wetroom showers are even better.
Staff Support
The physical features of the accommodation are important, but they’re not the only important things. A wheelchair user benefits just as much, perhaps even more, from friendly and helpful on-site staff who can provide extra support when it’s needed. Staff should listen to the specific needs and requirements of their guests, as those needs will vary from person to person. Even if a specific adaptation isn’t in place, guests and staff members can work together to come up with an alternative or temporary solution.
Making adaptations might seem stressful, difficult and expensive, but accommodation providers can really benefit from broadening their potential pool of guests. Good customer service will lead to positive word of mouth marketing, which is the best form of marketing available. If providers can offer accommodation for wheelchair users, then word is likely to spread throughout the community and will lead to increased bookings.
Of course, as wonderful as the financial benefits and increased room bookings are, the best bit is simply the fact that an accommodation provider can know that they’re providing equal opportunities and excellent facilities for all of their guests.
Mobility Smart is an online provider of products for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility. Products available to buy online include adaptations, pain relief, supports, cushions and daily living aids.