From tailored guides to downloadable maps to original videos, these destination marketing organizations are providing useful information for travelers with disabilities.
By Paul Peterson
Exploring a new destination can present unique challenges for people with disabilities — from navigating unfamiliar environments to finding accommodations that meet their specific needs. There are a variety of ways destination marketing organizations (DMOs) can serve as a resource for these specific travelers. The efforts of these five destinations highlight how accessibility is driving important changes in the industry.
Niagara Falls USA
Accessible access often begins with your destination website and ensuring that the design follows Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). When working with Niagara Falls USA on the design of its content hub, The Source, Casual Astronaut incorporated standard accessibility measures from a design perspective. This included ensuring readability of text, balancing color usage and creating consistent identification of functionality across the site. Additionally, we worked with the Niagara Falls team to create a blog post that highlighted accessible attractions in the region.
Niagara also leverages UserWay on its main site, which is one of several third-party platforms that provides additional accessibility tools and controls, such as color contrast adjustments, text spacing and dyslexia-friendly font displays.
Developing tailored guides — specifically for travelers with disabilities — is another way DMOs can serve as a resource. These guides provide information on the accessibility features of hotels, restaurants and attractions, as well as transportation options, in a specific destination.
The Visit Indy website offers an excellent example of an accessibility guide, which covers a wide range of information, including wheelchair accessibility, sensory-friendly attractions and service animal policies. Each section of the guide is broken down into specific categories, such as outdoors, meeting venues and transportation, making it easy to find the information a traveler might need.
Visit Tampa Bay
Similarly, the Visit Tampa Bay website has a section dedicated to accessible travel, which includes information on accessible accommodations, transportation and attractions. It also notes when locations may present accessibility challenges and includes links to virtual tours so that travelers can get a sense of the venue before arriving.
Equally important is Visit Tampa Bay’s approach to prominently featuring travelers with disabilities in its website imagery — not just in the accessibility section, but across the site.
Travel Wisconsin takes a slightly different approach to providing travelers with accessibility resources. Instead of a traditional guide, the DMO features a series of engaging videos starring Matt Scott, a wheelchair basketball champion and four-time Paralympian. In each video, Matt explores a different part of Wisconsin and showcases accessible attractions, activities and accommodations. The videos show that the state offers a variety of experiences for individuals with different abilities.
Visit Fort Wayne
Visit Fort Wayne offers a variety of accessibility resources including downloadable maps with information on accessible parking and links and phone numbers to available resources. One valuable feature of their online guide is a “what to expect” section for each attraction that helps identify things like venue access, accessible restroom options and automatic entry ways.
Visit Fort Wayne also partnered with the AWS Foundation to provide visitors with sensory kits at attractions and event venues to help those who might experience discomfort during a performance or in unfamiliar settings.
Becoming a Resource
Accessibility continues to be a crucial consideration for travelers with disabilities, and destination marketing organizations are rightfully taking notice and leveraging content as a way to further position themselves as a resource. By providing comprehensive accessibility guides, highlighting accessible attractions and accommodations, and showcasing the experiences of travelers with disabilities, these organizations are setting the standard and making travel more accessible and inclusive for everyone.
How Is Your Organization Addressing Accessibility?
From ensuring your site meets Website Content Accessibility Guidelines to creating content for travelers with disabilities, we can help.