In the next part of our guide to opening up your bed and breakfast to disabled travellers, here are 10 simple, low cost ways to improve your accessibility – and benefit both your B&B business and your customers.
Don’t be daunted by the idea of accessibility! Think about the range of disabilities your guests might have, from hearing difficulties to allergies, before you think about ways to cater for them. It’s not all about ramps and lifts – these are all areas where it can be easy and inexpensive to help!
1. The approach
First impressions can be important, so think about the access and approach to your bed and breakfast. Make sure the entrance is well signed, paths are free of hazards such as weeds and the front door opens easily. If you have steps, you could also provide a railing or have a member of staff handy to assist when necessary.
After the stress of travelling, check-in can be a difficult experience. Think about your customers’ needs and provide seating in the reception area or lead guests through to the lounge to wait whilst you complete the process. Be prepared to write things down for guests with a hearing impairment.
3. Meal times and diets
If your guests inform you in advance, it’s easy to purchase some gluten free bread or vegetarian sausages and make everyone happy at the breakfast table. Diabetics also need to plan meal times carefully to control their blood sugar, so think about offering snacks or opening up the kitchen to these special guests.
4. Vibrating alarms
Guests who are hard of hearing will appreciate the option of a vibrating alarm rather than a standard radio alarm clock. There’s no need to outfit every room, but it pays to keep one handy and they only cost £17.
5. Hypo-allergenic bedding
Asthmatics and guests with allergies will need hypo-allergenic bedding instead of down or feathers. Keep a set in store – and mentioned on your website – to help customers with this disability.
6. Signs and information
Consider trading written signs with a pictogram for guests with learning disabilities – this also benefits customers whose first language isn’t English. Alternatively, ensure that important information, such as menus and meal times, and signs are printed clearly in a large font and on a contrasting background. Sacrifice style for clarity!
7. Good lighting
Provide good lighting in all communal areas of your bed and breakfast, especially in the dining room and toilets, to help guests with visual impairments.
8. Research the area
Help your guests make the most of their holiday by researching the transport options in your local area or finding restaurants and attractions that cater to disabled travellers. You could even consider partnering with other businesses to offer a comprehensive service that will benefit both you and your guests.
9. Access Statements
Provide an Access Statement for disabled travellers to share all the information they need in one place and make sure each member of staff is familiar with the facilities you offer. Need advice? Here’s how to write an access statement.
10. Seek feedback
Follow up on your guests’ stay and ask for feedback on ways to improve the experience for disabled travellers at your B&B. Be sure to let them know ways you’ve improved facilities for future guests, and thank them for their input.
Image @Keoni Cabral on Flickr
Do you have any more ways bed and breakfasts could help improve their accessibility? Share your advice with our readers below!
- How to Make Your B&B Accessible – Part One
- How to Market Your B&B Online – Part One
- How to Market Your B&B Online – Part Three
Category: B&B Customer Service