The Deep making waves for all visitors.

I’ve been delighted to work with Louise Kirby, Operations and Personnel Manager and Zoe Montgomerie, Marketing Officer of The Deep in Hull.

We worked together on two aspects specifically.  Firstly to review and develop their Access Statement document and then address website usability for disabled visitors – the first ‘point of service’ for visitors on the planning cycle leading to their visit.

The Deep understand the benefits a day out makes to a family or travelling party that includes a disabled member in that travelling group.  It’s not just a moral obligation to make accessibility central to any marketing and operational strategic plan, it makes total sense to use ‘accessibility’ as a vehicle to drive forward superior customer service across the board.

So why bother putting time and effort into developing an access statement?  It’s pretty frustrating when I see access statements that don’t reflect the services offered at a venue.  Imagine a retailer having no product in the window display?  So we worked on addressing layout, content and usability with the disabled visitor in mind.

Now potential and repeat disabled visitors have not only great facilities and service provision but relevant and easy to find information when researching this terrific attraction.  As a parent carer myself, I can’t wait to visit now.  And thanks to the recent work we’ve completed it won’t feel like I’m ‘taking the plunge’ when I  visit The Deep!

The Deep is delighted to have had the chance to work with Visits Unlimited to update the access information available about our attraction, products and services. Spurred on by an excellent practical and insightful presentation by Visits Unlimited at VisitEngland’s Purple Pound conference, The Deep set out to review how its Access Statement could better serve our customers. Visits Unlimited helped to focus our vision and provided us with real feedback in a positive way; they clearly share our desire to improve accessibility within the tourism industry. They make the most of their specialist knowledge alongside appreciating the needs of the operator.
Louise Kirby, Operations & Personnel Manager, The Deep


Acclaim for Visit England “Access For All’ Training Programme.

The access training element of VisitEngland’s project ‘Access For All’ (co-funded by the European Commission) is now reaching conclusion.  Access Unlimited, the collaborative partners of the face-to-face training element of the programme made up of Visits Unlimited, The Accessible Training Company and Access Solutions, are on the last leg of their England tour with six of the seven regions involved in the project now trained.

Katie Clarke of Visits Unlimited has led the training and has toured Lincoln, Birmingham, Nottingham, the Peak District, Brighton and yesterday, Kent.  Businesses from hotels, Premier League football clubs,  theatres and restaurants all came together to form regional ‘Accessible Destinations’ with the common aim to work together in understanding accessible tourism and becoming more accessible and appealing to all visitors.

Northumberland businesses make up the seventh ‘Accessible Destination’ to receive this training on the 10th June.  Katie and Matt Riley will be delivering this final session and concluding this phase of the project.

A snapshot of feedback in Kent shows the power of face-to-face disability awareness training led by the people who live with or have a disability.

“The strongest point of the training was the personal insight and the stories.”

“ l learned today how important it is to make things as easy as possible for disabled visitors and their families.”

“The most important thing I have taken away with me today is to ask “What can I do for you?”

“Learning from first-hand experience is invaluable. Now I really, really understand that your experience starts way before you even get here.”

“Our welcoming is going to be even more welcoming.”

“I now have the confidence to ask the person what their access needs are and if there is anything I can do to meet those needs.”

“I am definitely going to make sure that we improve our website and I have learned today how important the pre-planning and information is.”

“Don’t pigeon-hole people. Ask the local community what it is they want.”

“ Now we have a greater understanding of what it takes to go through each day. It is my responsibility to make sure that the trip goes as good as it possibly can and is as relaxing and stress free as possible.

“I am going to make sure that our website is much more family-friendly with more pictures and imagery, better worded and more appealing.”

“I learned today that we are only a small part of the whole visitor experience and that the very tiny details are the things that can make a big difference.”

“You don’t need to spend a lot of money – it is much more than putting a lift in. It doesn’t have to be a huge outlay, increasing business and revenue can be achieved with a very small investment.”

The training modules covered in the one-day course was jam-packed with the latest information on Accessible Tourism, legislation found with the Equality Act 2010, customer service tips and action planning support – all delivered by inspirational trainers with personal insight and expertise on the subject.

Well done to The Accessible Training Company and Access Solutions for coming together with the team at Visits Unlimited and putting together an excellent course for the programme.

Huge thanks to Ross Caladine and Hannah at VisitEngland, Brian Seaman for all the prior work including access statement audits of the businesses signed up, each of the seven ‘Destination lead’ project managers and the businesses that have taken part.

Well done to Katie also.  You will be able to reacquaint with your family again after the final session!

Focus on accessibility.

Marketing Birmingham Taking the Lead in Accessible Tourism

Becky Frall, Policy and Development Manager for Marketing Birmingham attended our recent ‘Access For All’ training day and has fed back to us.

“I will let fellow destination practitioners and hospitality businesses know that the understanding resulting from this training will generate a desire to implement practical solutions to access needs and empower all staff to attend with kindness and courtesy to the inclusion of disabled visitors, resulting in the very apex of quality in customer service. Getting this right will generate a loyal repeat market and strong word of mouth recommendations, impacting positively on their bottom line. I will highly recommend your training services to our network in the city, and to fellow destination managers.  Thank you so much for such a well-rounded, enjoyable and enlightening day.  I look forward to seeing you and Matt again.”

We look forward to meeting up soon, Becky!

Birmingham Venues Tackling Accessibility.

A fantastic response from delegates attending our ‘Access for All’ Visit England training programme yesterday held at Le Tour Hotel, central Birmingham.  Representatives attending were:

Marketing Birmingham, Le Tour Hotel, Aston Villa Tours, Selfridges, Think Tank Science Museum, Alfie Birds and Birmingham Hippodrome.  They all collaborated enthusiastically, working towards offering truly accessible and amazing experiences for disabled and non-disabled visitors to their venues.