MMGY Study Digs Into Challenges Faced by Travelers With Mobility Disabilities

Lodging and transportation accessibility are the two biggest barriers to travel for those with mobility issues, according to new research by MMGY Global. On Tuesday, the company released its latest report, “Portrait of Travelers with Disabilities: Mobility and Accessibility,” which stated that nearly all respondents (96 percent) say they have faced an accommodation problem while traveling, while 86 percent have experienced flight problems and 79 percent have experienced in-market transportation problems. MMGY hopes the report will act as a call to action for every industry so they can better understand and meet the needs of the millions of people who use mobility aids, as well as their traveling companions.

The ability to have access to the same experiences as travelers without disabilities should be a priority across the hospitality, travel and tourism industries, as travelers with mobility disabilities spend $58.2 billion per year on travel. They are going on leisure trips with nearly the same frequency as those without mobility issues, taking an average of 3.4 trips in the past 12 months and spending an average of $3,546 on leisure travel during that time frame. 

The challenges for this group are very real and are found at every step of the travel-planning process and journey, according to the following highlights from the survey of more than 2,700 Americans with mobility disabilities and their caregivers and companions.

Here’s what we learned:

  • Four in 10 have had their mobility aid lost or damaged by an airline
  • Six in 10 have experienced extended wait times for mobility assistance at the airport before or after their flight
  • More than half (54 percent) have been given a room at check-in that did not match the room they booked
  • Eighty-one percent have dealt with inaccessible showers or tubs, and 52 percent have encountered beds that were too high for them to access.

The report holds many additional important insights for destination marketing organizations. When asked how travel destinations can better attract visitors with mobility disabilities, eight in 10 travelers cited increased information on accessibility available prior to visiting (84 percent); infrastructure expansion and enhanced maintenance for areas such as sidewalks, ramps and mobile lifts (83 percent); and the promotion of accessible lodging options by the destination (81 percent). These travelers also cited the importance of being able to see multiple pictures of the exact room they are booking and taking virtual tours of places they plan to visit to determine if there are any obstacles that could make it difficult or impossible to move around with their mobility device.

MMGY Global will be donating all proceeds from sales of the report to the United Spinal Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including veterans, to live successful and fulfilling lives.

Data was collected from June 3 through June 21, 2022. All respondents were U.S. residents and a minimum of 18 years of age.

Source: MMGY Global

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