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GBTA Launches Accessibility Toolkit to Address the Increasing Need for Seamless Business Travel for All

Online toolkit designed around industry best practices will help travel managers and suppliers implement more accessible business travel programs in their organizations

With an estimated 39% of business travelers reporting accessibility requirements that impact their travel experience[1], travel managers are seeking guidance to incorporate these needs into their corporate travel policies. So how can companies and corporate travel professionals create a more inclusive travel experience to accommodate their various travelers? The GBTA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), today launched the GBTA Accessibility Toolkit, a guide to help travel managers and buyers create more accessible policies and practices in their business travel programs.

The GBTA Accessibility Toolkit includes recommendations based on industry expertise and best practices around critical areas of consideration including travel policy, traveler communication, supplier engagement, and point-of-sale. The toolkit addresses key challenges in accessible business travel and how the industry can collaborate more effectively to deliver for those with accessibility needs.

For many business travelers, accessibility requirements may also be hidden, such as chronic pain, neurodiversity and mental health, and 70% of travel managers don’t know or won’t estimate how many of their travelers have accessibility requirements[2]. Adding to the challenge is the business travel industry lacks universal accessibility standards, therefore leaving many companies to address the issue in an ad-hoc manner.

“Addressing accessibility challenges needs to be a priority for the business travel industry, as there is still a significant gap in understanding business traveler differences and how these translate into various needs,” said Delphine Millot, Managing Director of the GBTA Foundation and Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Advocacy at GBTA. “Our GBTA Accessibility Toolkit is designed to help companies address this issue, in turn enhancing the business traveler experience, maximizing the ROI of business travel, and supporting the delivery of travel services from across the supplier landscape.”

Why a toolkit? Travel managers have a responsibility to support their travelers and manage risks as part of their duty of care role. Meanwhile, a lack of consideration around accessibility needs creates an environment in which travelers spend additional time and energy to deliver on their respective company’s investment. Furthermore, employees with accessibility requirements are an important part of the workforce, and companies need to ensure equitable working conditions and opportunities for all to build resilient and diverse teams.

“I’ve had great experiences while traveling, but then I’ve had horrifically poor experiences,” said David Dame, Senior Director of Product Accessibility, Windows + Devices, at Microsoft. “The biggest challenge is the inconsistency. I would like the opportunity, as somebody that travels both for work and for pleasure, to take for granted that I will have a seamless trip, just like anyone else. Consistency and best practices are sorely needed in the industry, and I am excited to see momentum on this.”

As part of the GBTA Accessibility Toolkit, the GBTA Foundation has issued five Calls to Action for an Accessible Business Travel Industry:

  1. Suppliers & Travel Managers should conduct an accessibility self-assessment to benchmark where programs can improve.
  2. Travel Managers should strengthen systems to transparently collect and confidentially store traveler accessibility information.
  3. Travel Managers should respond to travelers who disclose their accessibility requirements with a proactive and transparent support structure.
  4. Travel Managers or buyers should send a demand signal for more accessible facilities and services through the procurement and supplier evaluation process.
  5. The Business Travel Industry should collaborate on a universal coding system that conveys more granular accessibility information that travelers commonly need.

The GBTA Accessibility Toolkit, launched on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, contains seven modules on industry best practices around travel policy, traveler communication, supplier engagement and point-of-sale, key challenges and opportunities in accessible business travel, a glossary of terms, and industry case studies.

Developed in collaboration with the GBTA Inclusion & Culture Committee for travel managers, buyers, travel management companies (TMCs), consultants, online booking tools (OBTs), and  travel suppliers, the Accessibility Toolkit is available now at https://gbtafoundation.org/accessibility/ .(Thanks to the support of the GBTA Foundation, portions of the toolkit are available to the public.)

To learn more about the GBTA Foundation, go to www.gbtafoundation.org.

[1] Source: 2022 survey, Accessio
[2] Source: 2022 survey, Accessio