Native Hotels promote accessible tourism, paying particular attention to ensuring accessible communication. Vibrating watches with alerts and messages for deaf customers or signage packs in Braille and embossed to facilitate the visually impaired a better stay in the hotel, its rooms and bathrooms. They have launched the most accessible web platform for the travel industry, that allows users with any kind of disability to browse the Internet even blowing, emitting a sound or touching any key. Without Accessibility, Sustainability is not sustainable.
In December 2017, UNWTO and the 10YFP Programme for Sustainable Tourism chose NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism among the 6 projects to be highlighted at the International Symposium Empowering Tourism Destinations Sustainability through Innovation, held in Botswana. In its format, NATIVE is the pioneer since 2010.
Accessible Tourism needs a global agent with global tools to succeed worldwide. Because more than 600 million elderly people and people with any kind of disability need global tools. Most of regional or national Apps for accessible tourism are not being fully successful, because tourism does not want borders. Travelers don´t want to upload 18 different Apps to cross Europe, in different languages, with different icons and different standars. To begin with, 500 million users can't use a PC if web platforms are not built following accessibility parameters.
We have created a fully accessible platform for all users, also an "accessible ecosystem", and our main objective is to launch it to a global scale. This accessible ecosystem has been introduced at the conference on accessible tourism at WTM London 2017. Our project has been recognised by the World Travel Market-Responsible Tourism Awards in 2014, by the Trophée Maroc du Tourisme Responsable 2014-Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, also by the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards for Innovation in 2017, and others. But has not yet expanded.
Expanding an accessible ecosystem on a global scale is necessary to achieve Equality, Goal number 10 for Sustainable Development. Inequality in access to tourism generates not only a situation of injustice typified by international law, but a loss of business.
There are still many hoteliers who think that accessibility for the public in their establishments is something that concerns the State, the social services. Many still link accessibility to charity. What a huge mistake. As shown in the report on Accessible Tourism of the European Commission 2015, customers with disabilities generate invoices between 30 and 70% higher than standard customers. At NATIVE we are mainly driven by the desire to serve our clients. But also by helping the hoteliers involved, improving their occupancy ratio.
A Development maintaining the current apartheid against elderly customers and customers with disabilities is not sustainable. We work to make this fact visible and encourage tourism professionals to respect the Equal Opportunity laws in force in all the UN signatory countries.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW INSUIT WEB ACCESSIBILITY SYSTEM.
At present, we consider that almost no commercial web platform for tourism is built respecting acceptable web accessibility levels. Most of them have no accessibility at all, and many settle for inserting a simple reading system of texts. Even considering all the websites of accessible tourism, we think almost none reaches the practical solutions of use that our InSuit system offers. We not only comply with the protocols W3C-WCAG, but we go a step further. We could consider than InSuit is today like Windows or Mac operating systems 30 years ago providing practical tools to a world dominated by MS DOS and Word Perfect.
With InSuit, the user who doesn't need accessibility uses the web in conventional mode.
The user who needs any kind of accessibility chooses the navigation mode and fixes his personal parameters - accessible navigation option, sound volume, audio speed, police size, color of text and background ...-. Thus, the next time the user opens the web, he/she will start the session keeping his/her specifications.
OTHER PHYSICAL TOOLS FOR IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY IN HOTELS AND OTHER TOURIST SERVICES
With several partner companies we have created-tested-improved solutions for the obvious needs of elderly clients or those with disabilities:
-Deaf customers want to leave the hotel on time when there is a fire. We have the solution, through sensors and a vibrating wrist watch - Wiim - which sends alerts in case of fire, gas leak, door knock and messages from the Reception.
-Blind customers want to use shampoo on the hair instead of body lotion. We have developed with Puntodis the Pack of Braille and Embossed Signage for Hotels. In 2018 with new elements, including the content of the minibar.
-Blind customers are tired of choosing the meals by having the menu read aloud by those who accompany them. We have a solution through QR code, in 12 languages, with filter for allergens also, the Chef´s Voice web tool, also avoiding to print paper menus.
-Drafting and distribution of a short catalog of the accessibility elements that make a hotel, restaurant and other tourist services more friendly for elderly customers or those with a disability.
-Fully accessible booking engine, equipped with the InSuit tool. Free to use for all hotels registered in the NATIVE catalog.
-Incorporation of the system to a global hotel and tourism platform. This would be a practical objective with a global impact.
The impact of NATIVE's "Accessible Ecosystem" expansion would be threefold:
- A greater presence of the elderly public and customers with some disability in the tourist offer.
- An improvement in revenue management of tourism businesses.
- New solutions for special needs of elderly customers and people with disabilities will be created.
- Greater compliance with Goal 10 of Sustainable Development, "Reduced inequalities".