GBTA launches accessibility toolkit for seamless business travel for all

GBTA launches accessibility toolkit for seamless business travel for all

Online toolkit designed around industry best practices for more accessible business travel programmes in organisations

With an estimated 39% of business travellers reporting accessibility requirements that impact their travel experience, according to a 2022 Accessio survey, travel managers are seeking guidance to incorporate these needs into their corporate travel policies. 

The charitable arm of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), GBTA Foundation, has launched the GBTA Accessibility Toolkit, to help travel managers and buyers create more accessible policies and practices in their business travel programmes.

The guide includes recommendations based on industry expertise and best practices around critical areas of consideration including travel policy, traveller 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.

The Accessio survey also found that for many business travellers, accessibility requirements may also be hidden, such as chronic pain, neurodiversity and mental health.

Furthermore, 70% of travel managers don’t know or won’t estimate how many of their travellers have accessibility requirements. 

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 traveller 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 trave;ler experience, maximizing the ROI of business travel, and supporting the delivery of travel services from across the supplier landscape.”

David Dame, Senior Director of Product Accessibility, Windows + Devices, at Microsoft, said: “I’ve had great experiences while traveling, but then I’ve had horrifically poor experiences. 

“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, traveller communication, supplier engagement and point-of-sale, key challenges and opportunities in accessible business travel, a glossary of terms, and industry case studies.

The Accessibility Toolkit is available now and thanks to the support of the GBTA Foundation, portions of the toolkit are available to the public, too.