Amadeus has published ‘Voyage of Discovery,’ an in-depth report on accessibility in travel with insights on areas for improvement along the journey, including in the technology, which helps those with disabilities and seniors plan and navigate travel.
Tomás López Fernebrand senior vice president, general counsel & corporate secretary Amadeus IT Group explains the need for the travel industry to develop greater understanding of the challenges of the journey for the disabled and persons with reduced mobility in the introduction:
“Millions of people with accessibility needs around the world want to travel more, be better connected, and have greater variety of personalized travel services and destinations.
"Above all, they want to be considered as travelers first, with the ability to plan, search, book and purchase their travel independently.
“The travel industry has taken important steps towards improving the offer to those with accessibility needs, but much work remains.
"Offering accessibility services is the right thing to do, and that will continue to drive action. What might create even greater momentum is the business sense to address a growing and increasingly important demographic – it is estimated that by 2050 a fifth of the world’s population will have some accessibility need.”
Amadeus identifies four key elements of the ideal accessible trip: effective communication, responsive service, along with standardized content and serves, as well as a personalized offer. It says:
"Across these four areas, technology must be seen as an enabler of more accessible travel, providing user friendly, dynamic and effective tools to better manage travel experiences.
"This will be achieved through mobile devices and personalized services, delivering improved web navigation and facilitating the access to relevant content.
“Technology can play a powerful role in all interrelated areas, whether through deploying more innovative designs, understanding how people will react to and with different environments and initiatives, or equipping those working in the travel sector with the relevant information to support travelers with accessibility issues.
"But technology must also be seen in the context of accessibility picture, as an enabler and facilitator of change and action.”
Stefanie Kratz, project manager, Lufthansa is quoted sharing insights about the airline's own challenges ensuring that Lufthansa’s homepage met Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0):
“The most challenging task was to enable our website for screen reader usage, because we had to learn how our blind customers perceive a web site.
"We realized that accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as usability, design for older users, search engine optimization (SEO), improved maintainability and further system development.
"It’s not only about reducing barriers for our customers with disabilities. It’s about a modern implementation of well-structured web pages, with clearly laid-out user interfaces from which all users benefit.”
Applying technology is not just about making websites accessible, though, relevant travel information for the disabled or reduced mobility traveler should be easier to find.
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