According to the World Tourism Organisation, one billion people worldwide have a disability. The 2016 Irish Census reported that approximately one in seven people living in Ireland, 643,000 people, have some form of disability. The first global standard for accessible tourism (ISO 21902) was created in 2021 calling on businesses to “build back better” and become more accessible as they recover to make tourism accessible to all.
People with disabilities have a variety of needs that need to be catered for and the build environment should offer the same range of facilities for all. During a trip your accommodation is a home away from home and for people with a disability the importance of an adequate accessible hotel room cannot be overestimated. The accessible room can be found in many establishments across Ireland, but how accessible are they really? The Independent interviewed two common users of accessible accommodation and found that their experience was lacking. When asked what other provisions should be considered suggestions from the installation of grab rails along beds, accessible wardrobe rails, reachable towel racks, better lighting of steps, hoists under beds and non-slip pool tiles to different-sized shampoo bottles and the use of braille and bigger fonts on signage
There is always room for improvement when it comes to accessibility for people with disabilities in Hotels, Hostels and Air BnBs. These provisions must be arranged according to legislation and guidelines.
Is your hotel, hostel or Air BnB ready to accommodate and receive everyone properly? There are the key items that every accessible room should have:
For residents that are deaf or hard of hearing an outside buzzer connected to a flashing light beacon in the room will notice the occupant that there is someone outside.
Automatic Enter & Exit Openings
Heavy doors are hard to open at the best of times, by installing automatic enter and exit buttons will allow wheelchair users to move freely around the accommodation with assistance.
Allow wheelchair users to have a better experience sliding through their hallways with hardwood floors as opposed to struggling to wheel through the carpet. All rugs and mats should have a non-slip edge to allow wheelchairs to easily manoeuvre over them without getting stuck.
Simple Room Layout
A simple room layout with minimal clutter will allow residents to move around the room with ease without fear of tripping over furniture. Allow sufficient space between the items of furniture in the room in order for wheelchairs and other apparatus to manoeuvre.
Adjustable Bed Heights
Depending on the limitation of the resident's disability the bed should be able to adjust to higher or lower heights.
Some disabilities are sensitive to temperature. A temperature regulation system allows occupants of the room to adjust the room to their preferred temperature.
A fridge at an easily reachable height is a necessity for any occupants of an accessible room that requires medication that needs refrigeration.
Just as some people with disabilities are sensitive to temperature others are sensitive to sound. Soundproofing gives the occupant a more pleasurable stay. Soundproofing also benefits other residents by removing noises if any machines or alarms that be re required in the accessible rooms.
Automatic Window Blinds & Light Switches
Opening and closing blinds can be difficult for those occupants using a wheelchair. The same can also be said for light switches. By automating these tasks residents of the accessible room will have a more safe and more enjoyable stay.
Accessible TV controls
The use of voice control for the TV is a must for accessible rooms, allowing occupants to turn on closed captions or audio descriptions with ease.
Some individuals will require a mechanical lift to manoeuvre in and out of bed.
Does your hotel, hostel or AirBnB have the required amenities for a truly accessible ‘accessible room’? Talk to Grenke today about leasing options so you can kit out your accessible rooms and allow your guests to enjoy their stay at your establishment.
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