Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero
We often don’t think about how an attendee would navigate to and around an event space without feeling like a burden.
Imagine arriving at an event and being unable to locate parking, or get to the entrance because there is no access ramp?! These barriers (among others mentioned below) prevent attendees from having a less than spectacular experience.
If you reduce accessibility concerns by choosing a venue that caters to inclusivity and communicate it on your event registration page…Huzzah! You inadvertently sell more tickets, too. This kind of forethought makes your message clear: You want to welcome as many diverse people in the room as humanly possible.
Here are the 5 ways to make your next event super (in)clusive:
✅ It Has an Elevator or Ramp Access and Gender Inclusive Bathrooms
Most venues let you know on their website how accessible they are in the FAQs. Or a quick call will determine this. However, since we’re on the subject, all Artscape events have either an elevator or ramp access and gender-inclusive bathrooms available, so you can check it off your “to-ask-list” when you book with us.
✅ It Has Enough Seating And Personal Space (for wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and service animals)
Priority seating shouldn’t only be assigned to speakers and presenters, there are additional VIPs that require your attention. Persons with different abilities including vision or hearing loss, and those with wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and service animals need accommodation too. Artscape venues have custom floor plans to help you plan out an exceptional layout.
✅ It Has Accessible Transportation Routes to And From The Venue and Nearby Parking
We know it can be a hassle to spell out the best directions to get to and from your event, but it’s worth every effort — when you consider that it eliminates excuses and confusion.
No matter the season, mobility restrictions can remain for many folks who want a direct path to the entrance, paid or unpaid parking. Always indicate these details in your communication material. Pro tip: Our venues are located downtown Toronto and the GTA.
✅ It Has a Diverse Mix of Speakers and Presenters
People want to see more of themselves represented and reflected at events. Full stop. From nationality, gender, sexuality, religious affiliation, or ability to economic status.
In 2020, all event pros should be paying attention to who’s at the table, and who should be. That is, unless you want to end up on Tumblr’s “Congrats, you have an all-male panel!” satire page with a David Hasselhoff mocking thumbs up. (We assume you don’t – otherwise, you may end up going viral for all the wrong reasons).
Don’t do it for appearances, do it for the depth of content that will connect with your attendees.
✅ It Has Support Staff Including PSWs, ASL Interpreters, and Audio Describers/Captions on Videos
This is often an under-rated resource for making all guests feel welcomed (even if they don’t need it), they appreciate the thoughtfulness of the event organizer for having it in place.
Once you have these things secured, don’t forget to include available accessibility information on the event page description, event flyer and/or footer.
This is an important marketing step!
Over-communicate the details and don’t use neutral language or you’ll miss the opportunity to appeal to the subsections of dominant groups. You don’t want to have done the work and those who click to register, second-guess if they should. Name the things you’ve put in place.
All of the above are standard accessibility accommodations to create a super (in)clusive event.
And finally, Sensei Level: if you further want to cater specifically to your audience and exceed the bar, have participants indicate their dietary restrictions, provide event scholarships (free or discounted tickets) and preferred pronouns for badge preparations. Use your ticket registration software to gather attendee needs and accessibility concerns ahead of time.
We’re looking forward to seeing what you dream up! Download The “My Event is Super (In)clusive” Checklist
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