Much as planners ask attendees about their special dietary needs or allergies on registration forms, they should also inquire about accessibility.
Planners should ask — sensitively, of course — about accessible transportation on registration forms, Kirchner said. They could pair a question about needing transportation that can accommodate wheelchairs or scooters with a question about requesting a wheelchair- accessible hotel room, he added.
But planners also shouldn’t be afraid to delve a little deeper, Stewart added. Meeting planners sometimes get a little “edgy” about accessibility because they’re concerned about their attendees — and rightly so, he said. But he has seen events when a person filled out his form saying he uses a wheelchair, so the planner booked a coach with a lift. When the event rolled around, it turned out the individual could walk up a few steps and preferred doing that to using a lift, he said.
“Don’t just take that info [on the registration form] at face value, but probe a little more,” Stewart said. “Don’t be afraid to follow up and ask, ‘Do you need a lift-equipped bus?’”
Another option, Upton said, is to bring in an accessible van or minicoach rather than booking a large motorcoach with a lift.