Unlocking the power of the purple pound

Unlocking the power of the purple pound

Is your business easily accessible for all customers?

Exploring the value of the purple pound

The spending power of disabled people – known as the purple pound – contributed £15.3bn to tourism in England alone. Whether it’s day trips or overnight stays, domestic or inbound, disabled visitors and their companions typically stay for longer and spend more than the average traveller2.

Barclays is a proud member of England’s Inclusive Tourism Action Group (EITAG).

Why is the purple pound so important?

13.3 million disabled people in the UK
£15.3 billion annual value of the purple pound
7.3 nights additional average length of stay for inbound visitors with disabilities

Hidden disabilities

There are 14.6 million disabled people living in the UK.6 In other words, 22% of the population has a physical or mental impairment that negatively affects their abilities to perform their daily activities.6

Accessibility is about catering for everyone, not just those with physical impairments. Lots of disabilities are ‘invisible’ – only 8% of disabled consumers are wheelchair users7, while 80% have hidden impairments8. While it’s not always easy to support guests with disabilities you can’t see – such as autism or cognitive impairments – much more can be done to improve their experience, such as providing a sensory space for those who may need it.

Room for improvement

According to a recent survey, 71% of customers say the hospitality and leisure industry isn’t paying enough attention to accessibility – and 53% say they won’t return to a venue if disabled access is difficult.3 Another report shows that 74% of participants have experienced a disappointing trip or had to change their plans due to poor accessibility.4

Being as accessible and inclusive as possible means your hospitality and leisure business will be better placed to unlock the value of the purple pound – and help to improve the customer experience for everyone. 

And remember, it’s your responsibility under the Equality Act 2010 to provide all customers with the same standard of service and to ensure that disabled customers are treated no less fairly than other customers, wherever you reasonably can.5

Strategies for success in accessibility and inclusivity

Making your business more accessible doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are five simple, yet effective, ways to be more inclusive.


Produce an accessibility guide

A digital and hardcopy guide describing your facilities and services will make it easier for those with access needs to decide if they want to visit your venue.

This could include information about:

  • Whether your team has received disability awareness training
  • Services you offer for disabled visitors such as sensory spaces, hearing loops, BSL interpretation, large print menus and disabled toilets
  • Which areas of your venue have level access
  • Other ways in which you cater for disabled guests and their companions.

VisitEngland and VisitScotland have a free tool to help tourism businesses create and publish accessibility guides.


Check your technology

Although greater use of technology in hospitality and leisure offers many benefits to customers, it can also result in accessibility issues. In addition, many people with disabilities continue to be unconnected or digitally excluded.9

To ensure your digital services are inclusive, ask yourself:

  • Are all the technologies you use – such as your website, booking systems or check-in kiosks – fully accessible?
  • Do you use accessible fonts, imagery and colour contrast, and do you provide information on extra accessibility support such as floor plans?
  • Could you make use of speech-to-text apps?
  • Can you offer practical alternatives, such as telephone bookings alongside online bookings, and hardcopy or handheld tablet menus alongside QR menus?

Train your staff

Making sure your staff have the right training and equipment is key to ensuring your business can provide an inclusive customer experience.

You can do this by:

  • Providing disability awareness training for a range of accessible needs
  • Checking that your team is familiar with your accessibility guide and onsite facilities
  • Appointing an Accessibility champion to help drive accessibility and promote inclusivity.

Check your on-site facilities and signage

Improving the accessibility of your facilities can benefit everyone. Better access includes having:

  • Sufficient and accessible parking
  • Clearly marked entrances and exits
  • Seating in reception areas
  • Accessible toilets
  • Good, adjustable lighting
  • Hand rails
  • Ramps instead of or alongside stairs
  • Pathways always free of trip hazards
  • Water and other facilities for assistance dogs.

All communications should be available in accessible formats. Ensure your signage and labelling is as inclusive as possible by incorporating:

  • Pictogram signs
  • Large, clear fonts
  • Braille.

You may also want to consider offering hearing loop or remote BSL interpretation, and think about those who are neurodivergent when choosing your carpets and wallpaper.


Ask for feedback

One of the best ways to improve your accessibility is by asking guests for feedback.

It’s a good idea to offer various feedback methods – in person, online, anonymously. And make sure you actually use the feedback to improve things, where it’s helpful.

Finally, you may want to connect with local disability community groups or online review organisations such as Euan’s Guide to gather more feedback about your services, and to promote your accessible business.

Your next steps


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