Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

ESPA Toolkit

New ‘Living Document’ Helps
Manage Meeting Accessibility

The Accessibility Toolkit for Venues & Destinations from the Event Service Professionals Association presents resource forms and checklists that can provide meeting planners with key information about accessibility at the sites they are considering. By answering the FAQs in the toolkit, venues can create an extensive base of information to use to respond to requests-for-proposal, and then continue to update it as changes take place on site. The Toolkit also contains a list of additional resources and web links for help with accessibility.

Here is a sampling of the information venues can delineate by addressing the questions in the toolkit (some of the same points will apply for lodging and convention centers):

Lodging
• When updated to meet amended Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
• How staff is trained to assist people with hearing, sight or mobility disabilities.
• In what way rooms are accessible.
• Whether unscented guest room amenities (soap, shampoo, etc.) are available if requested.
• Whether front desk can check out assistive devices, such as flashing alarms, for the hearing or vision impaired.

Convention Centers
• If wheelchair and crutches are available on site in case of emergencies.
• The availability of ramps for speakers (and whether they cost extra) and portable ramps if an elevator is not functioning or a fire is in progress.
• If someone using a mobility device can access all meeting rooms.
• Whether a first aid station is on site, well marked and easily accessible.

Tours and Off-site Venues
• Restaurants with menus in Braille or large print or servers who can read the menu to those who are visually impaired.
• Tour staff able to assist people with disabilities or trained in American Sign Language.
• Tour vehicles with handicapped access.
• Museums with accessible exhibits and Braille or large-print exhibit notes.

Local Resources
• Rental companies for hearing-assistive devices, wheelchairs, crutches, etc., and average costs.
• Braille translation service companies.
• Sign language interpreters.
• Closest hospitals, clinics, drugstores.

Airport/Ground Transportation/Car Rentals
• Accessibility of public or private transportation area to the main terminal.
• If airport shuttles are equipped with wheelchair lifts.
• Availability of taxis or vans that can carry wheelchairs or scooters.

ESPA members can download the Toolkit through the My ESPA portal. Non-members can e-mail info@espaonline.org for a copy. — Maxine Golding

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