Our blind accessibility assessor, Alan, will be looking at how accessible it is to book online.

Wow, what a year so far, the nights are finally brightening up, but we still need something to look forward to; relaxation, warm weather and quality time with those who you love.

Now there are some enticing adverts being shown. So, let’s book a holiday, how difficult can it be? What do people think of when choosing their desirable break: price, recommendation and type of holiday wanted i.e. sporty, relaxation and sun, or informative and historic tours?  Is that all?

For some people that is true. However, there are lots of people that have a disability of varying severity. This group of people have to think about a lot more. Wondering if it will be plane sailing, or will there be bumps in the road, getting to their relaxing holiday. (Hope you don’t mind, I like playing with words)

Let’s look at the various steps to not only getting to the holiday but booking it, over the next few weeks the journey from booking a hotel, encompassing all methods of transport will be looked at.  

How Disabled People Book Holidays?

There are a lot of advertisements, either on the radio, or TV where they always give a number to ring, or a web site to look at. It does not matter whether you can read them or not, have a disability, or not, they are so quick, how many people can remember them? 

However, the majority of people will remember enough information to go on to the internet and find out more about the holiday that was advertised. Now here is where the fun begins (or not).

Booking a Holiday Online

To be able to go through the complete process of the site, that is making sure that the place you are looking at is the holiday you are dreaming of, then going through the booking procedure, the site needs to be accessible for everyone. 

Here at Accessibility Services, we test many sites. A large number seem very accessible at first, then there is a part of the procedure that is not.

Just one page, will make the person that it is not accessible for, and not be able to book their relaxing break. There could be any number of issues found for various people who use different assistive technologies and as I said, it could be anywhere. The most frustrating part could be the last page. Entering all the information and the last part is to submit. Then the element assigned is not available for many assistive technologies.

On the other hand, the whole process could be accessible and there is no reason why not. Now we can look forward to that holiday we deserve in a few months.

The Alternative

What is the alternative if the web site is inaccessible? I suppose you could find a phone number, but is there a price to ring, or do you miss out on the deal as you have used the phone?

The alternative at the moment is the good old fashioned way, go to the travel agent. They can answer all of your questions and if they can’t, they will know who to ask. The almost complete reassurance that they will know your situation and what you are looking for and match you up. Which in addition, will give you confidence.

Oops, wait a minute, how will I get to the travel agent?  For me, my closest one that I know of, is a taxi drive to the outside of town, then a walk through the pedestrian-only route to the travel agent.

As I don’t book a holiday every week, I know where it is. Being blind, I will not be able to remember the route. I think it would be ok for a wheelchair user, as I don’t remember going up any steps, but I don’t know. 

Can you think of your travel agent and could a taxi drop someone off outside? Is there a step into it? What about the room inside? The last time I went into the building, there were a lot of chairs all over the shop. Ok, people need to sit down, but it must be daunting for a wheelchair user, or a parent with a pushchair.  What about if the person is deaf, have you thought how they would get on? Wow, I think I need to book another holiday, just by booking this one. This is not to say that everyone has problems booking a holiday, but just a lot more to think about and prepare for. Now, what about getting to the destination?

Next, Alan will be looking at how accessible air travel is.