Marketing your Accessibility and welcoming disabled visitors
According to our latest survey carried out in partnership with Euan’s Guide, 87% of people are ‘very likely’ to return to a venue with good accessibility - so what are you doing to help make people aware that your venue is accessible?
We know that there are lots of venues out there that have great accessibility, but we also know that many of them aren’t known about because people tend not to assume that you have good access.
In fact, 94% of disabled people look for access information when deciding whether or not to visit a venue. So it all comes down to how you market your accessibility.
We have put together some top tips on raising awareness about the accessibility of your venue so you can make as many people as possible aware of the facilities and services you have.
List on Euan’s Guide
Euan’s Guide is the disabled access review website and app, where venues share their access information and people can review their experiences of the venue. With 56% of survey respondents saying they rely on word of mouth and 49% advising they do an internet search in order to find access information, having an up to date and detailed profile will help you market yourselves to disabled people, their friends and family.
Venues can register on Euan’s Guide by taking 10 to 15 minutes to answer questions on access, staff training and availability, toilets and local transport. They will also be asked to provide photographs of the venue and with 71% of people advising that seeing pictures influences whether or not they visit somewhere, providing lots of pictures may encourage more people to pay you a visit. Once listed, profiles can be updated with additional information at any time and venues can respond to people’s reviews of the venue too.
Plus, if you’re a venue that puts on accessible events, for example if you’re a theatre that has an assisted performance, you can add events to the site too. This helps ensure you’re marketing to your target audience. So if you’re a venue and you’re not already listed, what are you waiting for - sign up now!
Encourage people to review your venue on Euan’s Guide
Now that you’re listed you’ll want to try and get as many reviews as possible from your customers, their friends and family. As the results of our survey tell us, first-hand experiences can really paint a picture of what visitors can expect and encourage people to pay you a visit.
Additionally, reviews are more than a marketing resource. They are also great for feedback and constructive advice about the things you can do to make your venue even more accessible.
So, how do you generate more reviews? Take a look at our tips below:
- Firstly, share your Euan’s Guide listing on your social media platforms regularly. If you’ve just listed, Euan’s Guide will often share newly listed venues across their social media networks as well. Encourage your followers to review, and alert them to the fact that you have access information all in one place on a regular basis.
- Add the Euan’s Guide button to your website so that people know you are listed – to request yours e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Add the Euan’s Guide logo to your marketing materials like Sandcastle Waterpark have.
- Check out Euan’s Guides monthly Venue Issue (once you’re registered you’ll automatically be subscribed to this), a newsletter with all the latest tips, features and tools to make the most of your listing with Euan’s Guide.
- Order a range of promotional materials from Euan’s Guide, including window stickers, red cord cards, dog bowls and postcards to help encourage people to review your venue.
- If you collect your customers’ email addresses and already send a thank you email, consider adding in a small paragraph encouraging people to review on Euan’s Guide too.
Homelands Trust in Fife prove that it’s worth the effort, with some great marketing they have consistently received great reviews on Euan’s Guide!
Write an access statement
An access statement provides accurate and detailed information about the accessibility of your venue and is normally accompanied by lots of photographs from around your venue.
VisitEngland and VisitScotland have handy online tools which can help you to write your access statement. Remember to add your access statement to your website, don’t wait for people to ask for it! With 85% of people looking for access information on a venue’s website before visiting, it’s important you make your information easy to find, otherwise you might lose potential visitors without even knowing it. You can also add a link to your access statement from your Euan’s Guide profile.
Take a look at the access statement that the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have put together for a great example.
Make your information accessible!
It may sound obvious but if you have great facilities and services for visually impaired people do you have marketing materials that are also suitable? Make sure you create marketing materials in alternative formats including large print and audio, you may also want to consider other formats like Braille and easy read.
Often venues do have access information on their website but it is frequently buried in the deep dark depths of the site’s content and therefore hard to find. Make sure you have a clear link from your homepage and/or booking page about accessibility, if someone has to spend lots of time searching for access information the likely chance is they’ll give up before they find it and you’ll lose a valuable customer.
A great example is the Theatre Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham who have lots of information about access on their website, including information on assisted performances, downloadable visual stories and frequently asked questions.
And finally make sure your website itself is accessible, it’s not only a benefit to disabled people but research has found that accessible websites are faster to navigate and are good for Search Engine Optimisation.
For more information about accessible formats take a look at our blog.
Engage with local groups in the community
A great way to showcase your accessibility is to hold an open day and invite local groups down to try things out and wander around the venue. This is also a fantastic way to get feedback on what you’re doing well and what you might need to improve, you could also use this as an opportunity to encourage people to review your venue on Euan’s Guide.
Open days are especially useful if you’re a theatre, concert venue or arena where people are often unfamiliar with the location until the time of the performance when time can be limited and the venue can be crowded. Giving people an opportunity to explore your facilities when nothing is on may encourage them to book tickets with you in the future.
There are lots of great examples of venues who have engaged with community groups to receive feedback and advice. For example, Brighton and Hove buses have worked with Guide Dogs, RNIB, Alzheimer’s Society, MIND and many other local groups to ensure they are offering a service that suits their user’s needs.
The survey results revealed that nearly 1 in 5 people find out about access information from community groups and clubs, so inviting people to experience your venue is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Give contact details for a designated person at your venue
The survey revealed that over 50% of people telephone a venue directly in order to find out more information about access when planning a visit. Giving the contact details (including name, telephone number and email address) of someone in your team who is familiar with your access is helpful for disabled people who want more information or want to discuss logistics of a visit. It’s good practice to have a designated person (rather than a generic access email address) as people then know who they’re talking to and know that they will be knowledgeable in the venues access, including a photograph of the person can also be helpful.
They always say pictures speak a 1,000 words and it’s very true when it comes to building a clear picture of what your venue looks like! As mentioned earlier, the survey results revealed that having pictures of your venue can play a role in whether or not people visit a venue. So make sure you have clear pictures of things like your accessible toilets, your entrance and any specific facilities you might have, this way people will know what to expect when they arrive.
Visual stories are a great resource especially for people with autism or a learning disability. They give people a clear idea of what to expect when they visit you and opportunity to familiarise themselves with the layout of the venue. Visual stories cover things like where to go when you arrive, where the accessible toilets are and who to ask for help. The Eureka! National Children’s Museum has a great visual story which you can download from their website.
Videos are also very useful and you don’t have to get a professional team in to create one! Amateur videos, using just your phone and tools like iMovie, of access routes to your venue or accessible routes around your venue are always helpful. Take a look at a video Dance Base in Edinburgh put together to show people how to get to the venue from the local train station.
There are lots of awards that can help acknowledge the work that you’ve done to make your venue more accessible.
Attitude is Everything have written a charter that aims to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music. Festivals and live music venues can apply to be a part of the charter and can receive bronze, silver or gold awards depending on their accessibility. Over 90 venues across the UK have signed up to be a part of the charter so far and it is expected many more will sign up in the future.
VisitEngland run an annual ‘Awards for Excellence’ which includes their ‘Access for All Award’, past winners have included Eureka! The National Children’s Museum and Sandcastle Waterpark. VisitBritain also have a accessibility advice for accommodation providers, independent assessors evaluate a property’s accessibility and properties are then awarded a rating on the scheme.
Can’t find a specific award in your area? Some awards will include accessibility in their marking criteria so make sure you mention the accessible facilities and services at your venue – you never know it might help you bag an award!
Register for Disabled Access Day
Last but certainly not least, if you’re not already signed up for Disabled Access Day make sure that you sign up – it’s the perfect day to promote your accessibility! And you’ll be in great company as hundreds of other venues across the UK have already signed up to take part. If you’re not sure what you could do on Disabled Access Day take a look at our venue resources page for some top tips and ideas.
If you haven’t signed up yet head over to the ‘get involved’ pages and sign up now.
With 87% of people ‘very likely’ to return to a venue with good accessibility, it’s the perfect day to start building some positive relationships and hopefully create some loyal customers!
The most important piece of advice we can give you is be honest and accurate. So, all that’s left to be said is get marketing your accessibility!
You can download the full survey results from Euan’s Guide to find out more about this year’s results. The survey is the largest of its kind in the UK with over 900 people taking part this year.