What could your business do with another billion customers? That’s the number of people around the world who identify as disabled and who need a bit of extra accommodation when they travel. These individuals represent an enormous potential benefit to those companies that best care for their needs. By one estimate, as much as $13 billion in annual travel spending is at stake.
Yet this report is about much more than hospitality for people with disabilities: Many different cohorts confront challenges when they travel — women, LGBTQ people, students — and often don’t travel at all because of fears that leaving home won’t be worth the stress or hassle. Many people who may be avid travelers at one stage in life may find challenges crop up as they age, have kids, or choose certain destinations that present unique challenges.
A number of travel firms — particularly in the hotel sector — have made great strides to empower vulnerable travelers, but much more needs to be done, experts told SkiftX. “Accessibility affects all of us,” said Stephen Cluskey, CEO of Mobility Mojo, a consultancy.
This SkiftX report closely examines the ways in which travel companies can better welcome all types of people, improve their customer satisfaction, and win new business, all while doing the right thing. “It is our moral imperative to make sure that the engines of travel are moving for everyone, which, in turn, benefits societies and local economies,” said Jeff Rutledge, of AIG Travel. “Not only is that the right thing to do, it’s also a wise business decision, because travelers want to engage with companies who understand them and are thinking about their needs in advance.”