Designing and building accessible hotel and casino resorts in Australia represents a particularly lucrative market opportunity. 1 in 5 (4.2 million) Australians have a disability of some type. Of these, 320,000 are children. The rate of 1 in 5 Australians with a disability is expected to grow as the population ages. To that end, there are hotels and resorts in Australia currently dedicated to providing accessible hotel rooms regardless of disability type or severity.
Common Issues for Travelers
Australia is one of the most wheelchair-friendly countries in the world and yet, travelers still have issues with their accommodations. Ramps for wheelchair users, paths in and out of rooms, and obstruction-free pathways are a key concern for wheelchair users as is enough space for turning, handles, and rails for those with cognitive impairment. Proper signage and lighting are among the most important issues for those with visual impairments. Hearing-impaired travelers, too, need visual information, audio displays for hotel information, and vision information.
Beyond that, features that caused the highest number of problems for travelers with disabilities were:
- A lack of knowledge about disability-related issues among staff members at hotels for mobility and vision, and a lack of visual information associated with all public announcements made at a hotel for those with hearing impairment. Finding the location of spare items like toilet rolls, blankets, or pillows was the biggest issue for travelers with cognitive impairment.
- Shower facilities left much to be desired, and a lack of signage or visual alarms for emergencies was noted as an issue among hotel design as well.
- Access to outdoor areas or private balconies for travelers with mobility issues was the next most common issue, in conjunction with inadequate space in guest rooms to turn in a wheelchair.
- Access to doors, entryways, proper lighting for those who are visually impaired, and access to things like faucets, handles, locks and plugs were other commonly noted issues for travelers with disabilities.
However, these issues are a thing of the past where new casino resorts and hotels are concerned.
Changes to Accommodations
The Disability Standards for buildings came into effect on May 1st, 2011. The Premises Standards codify compliance under the Commonwealth’s Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) for any and all buildings open to the general public.
Travelers, too, have highlighted a need for variety when it comes to accessibility. Not all disabilities are the same and not all support requirements are the same. Hearing disabilities, cognitive impairment, vision problems and wheelchair accessibility all necessitate different levels of premises standards. If a hotel company does not take all of this into consideration, it risks alienating some customers.
Since it was reported in 2018 that the accessible tourism market in Australia is estimated to be worth $10 billion, a number of industries have improved their facilities and improved accessibility for travelers in Australia. To that end, popular casino resorts and hotels have worked hard to create a more welcoming space for travelers.
Crown Casino & Resort In Melbourne
The Crown Casino in Melbourne, Victoria is the largest casino complex in Australia. But that’s not all. It is fully committed to making the resort accessible to all with an end goal of producing an accessible and inclusive environment not only for guests but also for its employees. This is being enforced through their program of “crownability”. With the Crown, visitors can enjoy wheelchair-accessible public areas including street access, access to and from the parking lot, and easy entry into the hotel. There are Wheelchair Accessible guest rooms & bathrooms as well as a range of accessible entertainment options, restaurants, and bars. For the hearing and vision impaired guests, the Crown has tactile and strategic signage with better lighting and captioning than is found at most hotels.
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
Another casino resort, the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is a 5-star property with an onsite casino and outdoor pool, both of which are wheelchair accessible. Located in Cairns, there is nearby wheelchair access to the train station, the pier, and popular places of interest like the Great Barrier Reef, aquarium, and botanical gardens. Onsite parking is available with wheelchair access directly to and from the parking lot. In terms of restaurants, there are many bars, cafes, and eateries with proper signage, wheelchair access, and menu readability for those with visual impairments. The rooms feature easy access to the private balconies, space enough to easily move around, and large bathrooms with accessible lights, handles, and locks.
Club Inn Motel
The Club Inn Motel has an 18 hole golf course, swimming pool, and tennis courts. Located in West Wyalong, it is known for its accommodations including wheelchair access to the pool, an onsite casino, bar and restaurant options with disability access in mind, and direct access to and from the parking lot.