During the pandemic, an extensive layer of sadness sheathed the theatres and performing arts centers — the holiday season was canceled, every social event was mothballed, and gatherings blocked. Event spaces had become endlessly remote even for venue owners and felt bitterly abandoned. Everything had suddenly lost accessibility — you felt helpless. Remember how inaccessibility felt to you then? Unfortunately, that feeling is the constant reality for some people — pandemic or no pandemic.
What does Accessibility for Venues Mean?
Venue accessibility means that every venue component — physical or digital – is readily and easily accessible to every attendee regardless of their ability/disability. Venue accessibility is a multi-tier concept. The idea obliges that:
- The venue’s location itself is easily accessible (argh, even the thought of a far-flung venue across a bumpy, cobbled road is repulsive)
- The venue does not include red tape the entry of people with disabilities. So, for instance, if the venue has stairs and steps, it must also have ramps and lifts.
- The venue gives a wide range of in-venue services/amenities/privileges to people with specific needs—for instance, toilets for both genders, catering for particular diets, nursing rooms, etc.
- Different components of the venue are easily traceable. So, for instance, the venue is a massive labyrinth of winding corridors and hallways, but venue guides and appropriate direction maps are available to facilitate the guests.
- The venue booking process is simplified, digitalized, and accessible despite the physical distance.
Venues are accessible not by chance or luck. Planning, foresightedness, and strategic efforts make the venue get-at-able and desirable. Luckily for you, we have compiled a list of workable and result-producing tips on making a venue accessible. Before discussing the tips, let us separately highlight inclusion and venue accessibility for people with disabilities and special needs.
Inclusivity and Venue Accessibility for People with Disabilities and Special needs
Your venue should cater to the needs of people with disabilities and special needs — it should be accessible to them and inclusive of them. Mind you, Inclusion is not just a buzzword to throw left and right in marketing narratives. It’s a universal human right, denying which is a universally recognized felony. Interestingly, even without a civil rights framework, Greek architecture designed some more than 2300 years ago kept the needs of disabled people in the frontline. For example, the healing sanctuaries of Asclepius and Zeus were outfitted with ramps featuring broad and narrow stones. If Greeks acknowledged and cared for disability accommodation — why not you? for starters, you can accommodate them in the following ways.
- Choose a venue with the architecture of access (ramps, elevators, flat surfaces, etc.)
- Initiate social media efforts where people with disabilities and special needs are encouraged to voice their requirements (it is not always just ramps and elevators). Keep these requirements in mind throughout the entire event planning process.
- Launch a helpline especially for people with disabilities and special needs. Take and accept requests such as interpretative services, accessible parking/seating, and assistive listening devices.
- Hire stewards with adequate training who can help people with special needs
These are just some of the many tips to promote accessibility and inclusivity in your venue selection and management process. Start with these and keep adding on as you grow big.
Tips For Accessible Venue for Your Event
“Accessibility is not a feature. It is a social trend,” says Antonio Santos, a Dominican professional baseball. His proposition is fully agreeable in the context of event and venue management businesses too. Stadium, arenas, and auditoriums all around the globe have taken careful steps to promote venue accessibility and updated their facilities and practices for their attendees’ ease. So we say it’s your turn now.
Accessibility in your site selection process
An undesirable location can negatively impact your revenue. Imagine all your honest efforts and investment going down a gunky drain just because your venue was on Pitcairn Island (far-stretched example, but you get the idea). The point is that you have to make sure that your location is based around accessible transport routes. On your marketing channels, make sure to spare some time explaining the most accessible routes to and from the venue. However, there seems to be another problem. Any location in the heart of Tampa would be accessible but also super expensive. How do we remedy that? Always explore more than one “accessible” venue and choose the one with composite (affordable plus accessible) superiority.
Accommodate requests for reasonable accommodations.
Ensure that the planning process engages a wide range of people and their potential needs in terms of accommodation. Be mindful of:
- People who are not coming from around the corner — for a fraction of people, the venue would always be far-flung, and they would need accommodation for various reasons.
- Religious and ethnic diversity — accept requests for separate, clean spaces for praying.
- Pregnant and lactating women — make sure you have nursing rooms for them.
- The needs of disabled people — they might need adapted rooms periodically.
Some of these facilities may incur extra expenses. Remember to factor in these expenses in your booking prices.
Provide accessible parking spaces
To avoid congestion around the venue and create a smooth arrival experience, you need to book a venue with a spacious parking lot that can cater to all the arriving guests. To further improve the parking experience, coordinate with the event planner and:
- Work on designating the parking spaces for each of the registered attendee
- Make sure that the parking is accessible to different vehicles such as wheelchairs, canes, and walkers.
- Make sure people with disabilities and mobility problems can easily get to the venue from the parking lot.
- Provide a turn-by-turn direction guide on your website
- Consider providing a valet parking option
Easy Booking Process with all-day accessibility
With an online event booking software, you get “on-the-go” access to your venue’s reservations and availability and much more, like valuable, meaningful business insights. Event booking apps also mean that your business is open around the clock. Guess what that means? More reservations. There are many venue management software to choose from, read our all-encompassing guide to choosing the one which best satisfies your business needs.
How does VenueArc help in improving the accessibility of a Venue?
VenueArc is a breakthrough innovation for theatres and performing arts centers. The developers behind VenueArc ideated simplification, accessibility, and automation in venue management businesses. They engineered a multi-module and multi-function venue and event management software that has incredibly simplified the process of venue booking and management for theatre, arena, and auditorium owners and clients alike.
A seamless, automated booking process
VenueArc makes it incredibly easy and manageable to book venues for one or more consecutive and non-consecutive dates for a single week as well as multi-week events. With seamless access to the event booking calendar and its function-packed features, venue operation teams can run quick availability checks and confirm clients instantaneously for their desired dates over the phone. The features which come with the booking calendar have been an absolute hit with VenueArc’s users. Read more about the booking calendar’s feature’s here.
Access event management options on the go
Event and venue managers can save a lot of time with easy access to everything which is needed to handle the workflows of an ENTIRE event. This includes access to clients’ repositories, contracts and settlements, event documents, event booking details, venue availability details, and venue runtime information. With everything immediately accessible, teams become more productive and efficient.
(Check out https://venuearc.com/ to explore venueArc’s user favorite features such as centralized booking calendar, settlement portal, contract generator, and integrated CRM)
What are some additional ways of creating an inclusive and accessible event?
Accessibility and inclusivity extend far beyond the kind of venue/facility you have — it is an attitude that needs to be built into your team, practices, and behavior. Along with the key tips discussed above, let’s see some basic ways through which you can kickstart your efforts towards social diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility.
Angus Drummond, the founder of Limitless Travel was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the end of his teenage. While criticizing the current exclusion and inaccessibility problems, he says, “…need to take on the advice of people that have those needs, rather than just a board of people who’ve never needed to use a wheelchair.” This rightly entails that channels for pre-event communication should be set to consider the needs voiced out by people who deserve to have an accessible world laid out for them. Pre-event communication could be in the form of live sessions on social media platforms, polls, surveys, etc.
As we said, inclusivity is an attitude as much as it is a practice. It is important that the event staff reflects this attitude and is empathetic towards people of all abilities and disabilities, races, gender, ethnicities, age, and religion. From stewards and valets to greeters and hostesses —everyone should be made familiarized with the idea of inclusivity prior to the event.
Adopt an inclusive marketing strategy so that it appeals to a wide range of prospects without making anyone feel left out. Be thoughtful of the words you use (make sure they are inclusive) and the visuals you post on your blogs, website imagery, social media, and ads. Include all races, gender, age, ability, size, and social statuses from your target areas.
Good Luck Creating a Physical, Emotional, and Digital World That Serves All
Advocate, promote, and adopt the concept of accessibility in and out of your venue to create a world that serves everyone. We hope that from now on, accessibility is not an afterthought, rather a driving force that guides most of your venue and event management processes.
Follow VenueArc’s illuminating blog for more tips!