Accessible travel is a massive industry. If your bed and breakfast advertisements are missing that all-important “wheelchair accessible” designation, you’re turning away a huge number of potential lodgers. It can be a tough job to research and meet the needs of customers with disabilities – the good news is that there are countless resources available to business owners looking to increase accessibility.
Are your bed and breakfast a good candidate? We’ll help you decide whether your location and structure are suitable for the necessary modifications, and then we’ll help you anticipate the potential benefits of offering wheelchair-accessible facilities. Cost may not be a concern if demand is high, but you don’t need high demand to recoup your investment if the necessary modifications turn out to be inexpensive.
Analyzing Your Options
A few simple questions can determine how many zeroes to add to the end of your expected budget. The bare minimum would be to have at least one bedroom on the main floor of your building with its own accessible bathroom. You will need enough room to add a conveniently accessible entrance, preferably at the main entrance. Official designated handicapped parking is necessary, and there should be a clear path between the parking spaces and the accessible entrance.
Your local ADA or equivalent regulations should give you most of the answers you need. Rely on these guidelines even if you are not legally bound to abide by them because the measurements and layouts will help you compile your estimated budget.
A single unexpected obstacle, such as a tight or narrow hallway corner, might prove too expensive to modify and may call for some complicated workarounds. Bathrooms are particularly complicated due to the sink height requirements and a general preference for roll-in showers.
Bed and breakfast owners are improving their wheelchair accessibility in tourist areas and small rural communities alike – there will always be demand for them, no matter where you go. You’ll see increased demand near wheelchair accessible venues and destinations. Bonus points awarded if you have wheelchair-accessible public transportation nearby.
Read online reviews for local hotels to see if there is a trend of people dissatisfied with the level of accessibility, a good indicator that your accessible bed and breakfast will be filling an important niche. You’ll also get a good scoop on accessibility-focused events that may draw added seasonal interest in your bed and breakfast.
If you have a hot tub or pool, the installation of a pool lift can create tremendous demand among patrons who wish to exercise or relieve pain. Make sure to invest in ADA pool lifts with strict quality guarantees – even portable lifts can be ADA compliant with the right accessories. A nice paved walking path is ideal if you live in an area popular with birdwatchers.
The benefits are innumerable. Demand is always high because there are so few wheelchair-accessible bed and breakfasts, and so few locations that could qualify as disability-friendly. By improving accessibility to and within your bed and breakfast, you’ll be able to fill a niche that practically guarantees better opportunities for promotion and more importantly, a greater number of repeat lodgers.