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How to Plan More Inclusive Events and Conferences

Posted:   March 9, 2017

Wheelchair Ramp at Corporate Event

As you strive to boost ticket sales or increase registrations, consider how planning a more inclusive event can attract additional attendees in the short and long-term. Strategic event planning with a focus on inclusivity will boost turnout, revenue, attendee engagement, and your reputation in your field. While event organizers can be legally obligated to accommodate for people with a wide range of disabilities and special needs, doing so is simply smart business.

To better plan an inclusive event, here are five things to consider.

Site Selection

From the onset, planning an inclusive event means choosing a venue that will have accessible entrances, conference rooms, and presentation spaces, as well as ADA-compliant bathrooms, ramps to the stage, adjustable lecterns/podiums for speakers, and signage that is large and printed in braille.

Event Registration

Ensure that you include a list where individuals can check off the accommodations they need at your event. Don’t forget to include a blank section for additional accommodations. Ensuring that both registration and ticketing are easy and collects necessary information for special needs or accommodations is half the battle of planning an inclusive event.

Hotels and Transportation

State laws can vary from federal guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), so it is essential that your team ensures that rooms and meeting spaces are truly accessible to accommodate the needs of your event attendees and comply with local, state and federal guidelines.

Food and Beverage

Make certain that all attendees can easily obtain refreshments by avoiding the use of tables and displays that are too high or difficult to reach. If you choose buffets for your event—which are difficult to manage for individuals in wheelchairs or those using canes or walkers—consider having staff on-hand to provide assistance.

Event Logistics

Do not seat individuals who require accommodations together at one table in the back of the room, as this segregation can make attendees feel excluded from the event itself. You’ll want to ensure that all of the technology used for presentations can be easily accessed by attendees for full participation and that speakers describe diagrams, infographics, photos, and models when speaking.

Planning an inclusive conference or event is a smart business practice that benefits you, your presenters, as well as your attendees. To learn more about our event planning services and the amazing event management professionals at Vicki Johnson & Associates, contact us online or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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