by Paul Ruby, CMP | April 01, 2017
How do you make your meeting or event accessible to all? As an informative resource for planners, the Event Service Professionals Association created Project Access: Accessible Meetings FAQs. According to ESPA president Paul Ruby, CMP, the full package is a downloadable resource that hotels, convention centers, CVBs and others can customize with their accessibility information and branding, and provide to planners.

What follows is an adapted checklist from that longer form, offering some important questions to ask early in the planning process.


AIRPORT/GROUND TRANSPORTATION

 How will people using wheelchairs get from the airport to the hotels?

 Does the airport provide continuous skycap wheelchair service from curbside to airline counter to gate?

Can the transportation pickup area at the airport be accessed without leaving the main terminal? If not, how can someone in a wheelchair get to the transportation facility outside the terminal?

 Does the airport have courtesy trams inside to take people between gates and concourses?

 Do rental car companies offer vans or other vehicles with chairlift or stowage?

 Can local car services or limo companies accommodate mobility devices?

 Can Uber or Lyft-type services accommodate wheelchair stowage?

 Are airport shuttles equipped with wheelchair lifts?


LODGING
When was the hotel last updated to meet amended standards for the Americans With Disabilities Act?

 How many handicap-accessible rooms are on-property?

 In what ways are the rooms accessible?  

How many of the rooms have roll-in showers? How many of the roll-in showers have built-in benches?

Are all of the meeting rooms accessible to someone using a mobility device or crutches?

 Are the restaurants and outlets accessible to someone using a wheelchair or scooter?

 Is the buffet or serving line set low enough for someone in a wheelchair to reach all items?

Are any hotel rooms designated for hearing- or vision-impaired guests?

 How are the staff trained to assist people with hearing, sight or mobility disabilities?

 Does the hotel use scented cleaning products? Are any guest rooms cleaned with only unscented products?

 Does the hotel have an emergency EpiPen on hand in the event of anaphylaxis? What is the expiration date of the EpiPen?

 How far is the closest hospital or walk-in emergency clinic?


CONVENTION CENTER
 Does the convention center have a wheelchair and crutches on-site in case of emergencies?

 Are there ramps to allow access to the stage/speaker's platform?

Can someone using a mobility device access all meeting rooms in the convention center, including via ramp or lift?

 How many restroom stalls are usable by people in wheelchairs?


TOURS AND OFF-SITE VENUES

Are restaurant menus available in Braille or large print?

Are tour staff or docents available to assist people with disabilities?

 Are tour docents trained in American Sign Language?

Do museums offer headphones with commentary for tours?