How to make your holiday cottage accessible
There are numerous factors to consider when renting a holiday cottage, such as where to stay, whether the desired dates are available, how much it will cost, and what activities are available nearby. But what about those who have a sensory or physical disability? Before they can check off those items on the list, they must find a holiday cottage that completely caters for their particular needs.
According to Scope, a disability equality charity, there are currently 13.9 million disabled people in the UK. When it comes to vacations, though, it’s still typical to find accommodation that isn’t appropriately adapted for people with disabilities.
Holiday cottages can help by making a few (very easy and straightforward) improvements to their property to make it accessible to disabled visitors. Here’s how to do it:
Being able to successfully cater to all types of guests is an important part of being a great host. As a result, by making the appropriate adaptations to your self-catering property – no matter how big or little – you can potentially tap into a large market of disabled travellers. Customers are also incredibly loyal if you check all the boxes.
According to the GB Tourism report from 2015, ‘accessible tourism’ contributed £3.2 billion (16%) to the total spend on UK overnight vacations that year! Consider how it could open up a whole new market of as-yet-undiscovered customers, as well as make you eligible to be featured on speciality rental portals.
It could also provide you with an advantage over your rivals. While there are thousands of holiday homes available for rent in the UK, a significant number of them are still inaccessible to disabled visitors. Adapting features of your home may thus provide you with a new distinctive selling point with which surrounding competitors will be unable to compete.
It also implies that you are constructively contributing to society. Did you know that over half a million British individuals with disabilities cited a lack of accessibility as a factor for avoiding visiting the UK for vacation? Everyone is entitled to a holiday.
By making your property more accessible, you may be encouraging those who might not otherwise be able to travel away for a few days to do so.
What steps can you take to make your vacation cottage more accessible?
Many of these changes might be simple and inexpensive. It’s important to remember that the wheelchair-bound aren’t the only ones to consider! Only 8% of the 13.9 million disabled people in the United Kingdom are wheelchair users.
Inside your home, there are a few things to think about.
Consider how easy it is for people to move between floors:
Are there any additional handrails required on the stairwell?
Is it possible to include a wheelchair lift?
Include audio announcements and braille on lift buttons if a lift is possible.
Is there a ground-floor bathroom and toilet that is easily accessible?
Are these rooms accessible to those who use wheelchairs?
Can you install support/grab rails (which you can attach and remove as needed) or maybe a hoist?
Is it possible to make a walk-in shower or wet room with a level entry?
Is it possible to include a shower seat?
Is there a ground-floor bedroom that is accessible?
Is it possible to link two bedrooms together?
Is it possible to alter the furnishings in the bedroom if necessary?
Consider purchasing a hoist as well as an orthopaedic bed.
Could doorways be expanded to make wheelchair access easier?
Is it possible to make any doors automated or self-closing?
Is it possible for a wheelchair user to access the kitchen worktops or appliances?
Consider these changes for your property’s exterior.
Consider your property’s entrances and how easy (or difficult) it is for visitors to enter and exit:
Are the paths level or slanted?
Is it possible to construct a ramp (which does not have to be a permanent structure) where there are currently only steps?
Is it possible to install a grab rail near the front door?
A handicapped-accessible hot tub or pool with a hoist is a major plus.
Examine the outside situation as well.
Is there any parking?
Off-road parking and right next to the property? Or is it strictly ‘on-road’?
Is there enough room to unload everything, including wheelchairs if necessary?
Take some time to inspect the outdoor space for any potential hazards, such as stray flags that need to be removed, a swimming pool, or a pond.
Is there an enclosed place outside for folks with guide dogs or assistance dogs to run around in?
The next step is to make an accessibility guide.
Creating a holiday cottage access statement: some pointers
An Access Statement is a written (with images) description of the services and facilities you provide. Its objective is to highlight the most crucial aspects of your house and its amenities. Providing this information in a clear and simple manner assists guests to control their expectations; they will know exactly what they will receive before they come.
It can assist people considering whether or not to book with you in determining whether or not your property will suit their accessibility requirements. Nobody wants to be surprised by unexpected issues with a property’s accessibility, which might utterly ruin their visit.
And it’s not just the ‘physical’ characteristics of the vacation house that must be taken into account. You should also consider the sensory aspects (decor/lighting/etc.) as well as other factors, such as how you give information to your guests – both before and after they arrive.
It’s beneficial to include these details:
Is the entry-level ramped or does it have steps? Is it adjacent to the property or not?
Door widths, as well as whether they are manual or self-closing, are all factors to consider.
If there is a lift and/or railings on the stairs
Is there a kitchen/bedroom/bathroom/toilet on the ground floor?
Are there support rails, a level entrance shower, or a hoist in the bathroom(s)/toilet(s) for wheelchair users?
Is it possible to reach the kitchen work surfaces, cupboards, and appliances while seated?
External features include a dog run, flat roads, and ponds.
Is the property accessible via public transportation?
The distance from the next town/village and information on the best spots to park, eat, and so on.
Equipment is either owned or rented.
Information on the property (in a variety of formats), including the entire address, its location, local carers/hire companies/accessible .taxi/hospitals/doctors, and local carers/hire companies/accessible taxi/hospitals/doctors.
Off-road wheelchairs, for example, allow guests to experience the outdoors.
What network(s) do you get cell phone reception on?
Make sure you properly and accurately describe your accessibility adaptations in your listing site ads and on your website. You should make a ‘accessibility page’ a core part of your website and use it to its maximum potential as a sales tool. Include feedback from previous visitors that clearly indicate how your disabled travel amenities made the difference between a good vacation and a wonderful vacation!
Making an accessible vacation cottage to fulfil the needs of disabled guests can be the deciding factor in whether or not a reservation is made.