Voyage Of Discovery – Accessible Travel Report

People with access needs still face numerous barriers when booking and
undertaking travel, but existing and emerging technologies are crucial to
making the process more accessible, research claims.

The new report found that while advancing technologies such as voice
recognition, artificial intelligence and virtual reality are being used by
some companies and hotels to make travel more inclusive, website
accessibility and use of mobile devices – for tasks such as managing
bookings – are still fundamental for travellers with access needs.

The study, ‘Voyage of discovery: Working towards inclusive and accessible
travel for all’, was commissioned by travel technology consulting firm
Amadeus and carried out by Ilunion, a consulting firm owned by ONCE, the
Spanish National Organisation of the Blind. It looks at the requirements
and first-hand experiences of travellers with access needs and explores how
‘the travel experience and customer journey’ can be made more
accessible by examining three stages of the process: ‘The pre-travel
stage: what happens before the trip’, ‘In transit: what happens on the
journey’ and ‘In destination: what happens upon arrival’.

Results are based on responses from focus groups and interviews with
consumer travellers and industry experts, featuring contributions from
people with “visual, hearing, cognitive and physical disabilities,” and
travellers over 65-years-old with accessibility needs, all from the United
States, European Union and India.

As demonstrated in the report, the same technology that can aid more
accessible travel can also become an obstacle when it is not designed
inclusively. For example, difficulty in navigating inaccessible travel
websites was found to be one of the biggest barriers for users during the
booking stage.

The report also notes that when booking a trip online, “there is a lack
of standard procedures for communicating passengers’ specific needs.”
Despite this and other issues, the report found that online booking was
still by far the most popular method for booking trips.

A later section of the report examines how technology is empowering
travellers. The report notes that “Some hotel chains are using mobile
apps to allow guests access to their rooms and other facilities, and others
are using virtual reality to demonstrate accommodation and services.”

Here, the study points towards the increasing use of Bluetooth-enabled
navigation beacons, wearable technologies and even driverless cars as
potential future aids for accessible travel.

Other significant findings from the report include the discovery that
“travellers would increase their travel budget by 34% if accessibility
barriers were eliminated,” representing a clear business incentive for
the industry alongside moral obligations.

The report ends by making recommendations on how the industry can work
towards making travel more accessible for all, including a call for the
development of “global standards for accessibility in travel and
tourism.”

Download the full report at the Amadeus website.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *