Most planners would agree that convention-service managers are essential partners in the planning and execution of a successful meeting. Understanding this, the Event Services Professionals Association has created a guide for its members who assist event hosts in creating a positive experience for all attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors through accessibility and inclusion.
Released in mid-December, ESPA’s Accessibility Toolkit for Venues & Destinations is a 20-page digital document featuring checklists for participants’ experiences at the airport, with ground transportation, and within hotels, convention centers, special-event venues, and local attractions.
The checklists covers a wide range of issues, including physical accessibility for people with mobility difficulties; dietary accommodations; neuro-divergent considerations including visual, hearing, language, and comprehension challenges; gender-identity considerations; on-site medical services; and more.
“As event-service professionals, we’re the ones who find the answers that ensure successful events for all attendees,” said Denise Reid, ESPA’s president and an event-planning manager at the Hyatt Centric French Quarter in New Orleans. “We must be at the forefront of accommodating people with varying abilities—some of which are invisible to others—and communicating options to meeting planners in advance.”
ESPA’s Accessibility Toolkit for Venues & Destinations can be found here.
In addition, ESPA launched another downloadable guide in summer 2023 titled Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: A Guide for Event Service Professionals, which is designed to help its members maximize inclusion at the conventions they serve. The guide focuses on three areas: education, inclusive marketing, and supplier diversity. It can be found here.