Web Accessibility & Its Importance to Travel Businesses in 2022
Did you know that 25% of the global population has a disability or condition that affects their ability to use the internet?
That equates to around 61 million people in the U.S. and over 1 billion people worldwide who are unable to use the vast majority of websites. Couple that with this segment’s $7 trillion spending power and it means that businesses everywhere are missing out on a massive portion of all potential customers and web traffic.
The solution? Enter web accessibility. It’s the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers to interaction on your website for those with disabilities.
Most people only imagine someone who is blind, deaf or in a wheelchair when they think of accessibility. However, web accessibility also helps countless others who have:
- ADHD, dyslexia and other learning disabilities
- A loss of motor skills
- Short-term memory loss
- Low vision
- Adults with changing abilities due to aging
- And many other common impairments
Instead of falling behind the curve, hospitality businesses who prioritize web accessibility will reap the many benefits, as well as avoid the costly risks. So how is that exactly?
Drive ROI with Accessibility
Web accessibility is an essential adoption of the digital age—a trend that’s only gaining speed as more of our lives moves online. This is especially true for the travel and tourism industry, which is heavily reliant on the internet. Current statistics show that 90% of travelers will do their research online and 82% will complete their booking online.
Not having an accessible website means that your business is excluding millions of potential guests. They’re currently unable to read about your brand, explore its offerings, browse the photo gallery and ultimately convert. These digital interactions primarily take place on your website and play a crucial role in the decision-making process.
So flip the script. Instead of missing out on customers, an accessible website allows you to capture them, expand your reach to new audiences and drive new bookings. Optimizing your website for accessibility helps your business to:
- Increase market share by 25%
- Boost SEO efforts and conversion rates
- Dramatically increase bookings
- Build a strong and inclusive brand
- Enhance customer loyalty
- Create a better user experience for all
Avoid Costly Accessibility Lawsuits
At the same time, many business owners still don’t fully understand the risks that come with a lack of accessibility. Web accessibility is no longer optional—and ignoring it is widely considered an irresponsible business decision as it opens up your organization to costly lawsuits and hefty penalties.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 with the aim to protect those with disabilities and ensure they can participate in all aspects of society. That’s why physical buildings are required to have wheelchair ramps, push-to-open door buttons and accessible restroom facilities.
Today the ADA extends to public-facing websites. As such, sites are required to be designed and coded according to official guidelines—otherwise your business is denying access to this massive segment of the population. Businesses who fail to comply are vulnurable to discrimination lawsuits, stiffy penalties and hefty legal fees.
Even more recently, the United States Department of Justice published its own guidance on web accessibility and its importance for businesses open to the public. This included how businesses can make their website accessible to people with disabilities and in line with the ADA’s requirement.
This is a trend that’s only exponentially increasing as the world goes digital. The number of ADA-specific lawsuits has increased by 1,100% since 2019, including organizations like Domino’s Pizza, Netflix, Target, Nike and more. The consequences can be even more damaging for small businesses.
The good news? These lawsuits are completely preventable when working with accredited technicians, like our team at Access Design Studio. It’s important to work with certified experts who understand official standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and can implement long-term solutions to protect your business.
Is Your Business Accessible?
Web accessibility should be a priority for hospitality businesses. Just as you would accommodate guests with physical disabilities when they enter your establishment, it’s also important to care for their online needs. At the end of the day, it’s about delighting your guests and delivering an excellent customer experience.
Get in touch for a complimentary video review of your website today.