Maximizing event accessibility has many benefits.
By accommodating everybody, including those with invisible disabilities, you make your events more comfortable, increase your reach, and create a premium environment.
- Event design
Event planners work magic behind the scenes. They pull everything together to create an exciting, welcoming environment.
Diversity and inclusion work best when they are a part of the planning process.
Make guest accommodations friendly to people with disabilities, including those with ‘hidden’ disabilities. Most U.S. hotels, motels, inns, etc. include accommodations that are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. In fact, all accommodations designed or constructed after January 26, 1993 are required to be ADA compliant.
Make it easy for your attendees from the start! Provide them with an accessibility statement and point of contact in event announcements and invitations. Include clear instructions on how to request accommodations. You’ll want to clarify deadlines for requests for special accommodations and avoid disappointment or avoid confusion. (Scroll to the end for two examples!)
Share details about lodging and transportation accessibility with out-of-town guests.
The best event designs unify and refine your event. You’ll want to make sure that acoustics, lighting, and climate all contribute to making your event as comfortable and inviting as possible–for everyone.
Prioritize details that contribute to guests’ ability to see, hear, and fully participate in your event. Thoughtful seating arrangements, unobtrusive decor, and easily available information all help create a supportive environment. Take it a step further and add personalized event entertainment to ensure that ALL of your guests are able to participate in your event. Strolling entertainers make accessibility a breeze for those with mobility impairments–the entertainment comes to you!
If you use visual or auxiliary elements (for example a slideshow or speaker), share a list of additional services, assistive technology, or accommodations that you are able to provide.
● American Sign Language interpreters
● CART services (Real time closed-captioning is more accurate than computer generated captions)
● Visual and auxiliary aids
● Assistive communication devices
Have information available in alternative formats (large print, braille, or pre-recorded audio, for example). If text is presented, use a mic and read it aloud while facing the audience.
This list is not exhaustive, but it is a great place to start to begin creating a more accessible world.
Be open to learning new ways to deliver a positive, coequal experience to each guest. (Or as we put it, keep inviting everyone to the table.)
Below are two documents you can use to support your event’s from the get-go. Happy planning!
Sample Accessibility Checklist
Please let us know how we can enhance your participation!
___ An assistant will be accompanying me.
___ A service animal will be accompanying me.
___ Assistive listening device
___ Diet Restrictions
___ Gender neutral bathroom
___ Lactation room
___ Large print
___ Orientation to facility
___ Reserved front row seat
___ Scent-free room
___ Wheelchair access
___ Wheelchair access to work tables throughout meeting space
Provide an accessibility statement with a point of contact.
Sample Accessibility Statement
We are committed to organizing events that are inclusive to all.
To request information on accommodations and accessibility, please contact [Full name & pronouns] at [email AND phone number] when submitting your RSVP.
As a courtesy to those with allergies and environmental sensitivities, we are asking that our staff and guests please [example: avoid wearing strong fragrances].