Tourism marketing organizations would feel more confident proposing or expanding accessibility initiatives if they had greater knowledge of the latest product innovations and how they can be valuable to them. To address this opportunity, TravelAbility Summit created LaunchPad, a pre-conference workshop the afternoon of November 11, 2019 in San Francisco.
LaunchPad will bring together socially conscious entrepreneurs who have created products and services that make travel within hotels, airports, attractions, and destinations easier for people with disabilities.
“The goal is to connect entrepreneurs with new distribution channels in the travel industry and to help jumpstart new accessibility initiatives,” says Jake Steinman, founder and CEO of both LAUNCHPAD and TravelAbility Summit. The accessible travel market has been estimated to be in excess of $17 billion* annually and growing at a rapid pace as baby boomers age into a disability.
Also in attendance will be leading travel media representatives and angel investors who can provide exposure, advice and capital to help these companies grow. “We have received a commitment from Blue Umbrella,” said Steinman, “a disability technology accelerator that will help mentor the entrepreneurs during the event.”
The creation of LaunchPad is a result of the TravelAbility Summit team’s deep dive into three categories: the fast-growing accessible technology market, the disability community’s changing needs, and feedback from travel marketers in need of next steps to get accessibility initiatives started in a meaningful but also manageable way. In February TravelAbility released “The Fab 50,” a curated list of 50 products and services that can make the travel experience easier for people with disabilities— and from that list we’ve invited some of the most affordable and practical to present their products and services at LaunchPad. So far 10 have confirmed.
“Because there hasn’t been a disability travel conference in the U.S. in over 13 years,” explained Steinman, “there hasn’t been a venue where the travel industry can learn about new assistive apps, products and services designed to help people with disabilities travel more independently. We are looking forward to watching the sparks fly as these communities come together and to tracking the outcome to build the business case for accessibility in travel.”
(The resource list is available on the TravelAbility Summit website. (http://travelabilitysummit.com/2018/11/08/accessible-products-a-quick-inventory/) You can also find links to the companies on the Fabulous 50 list in our newsletter, http://www.travelabilityinsider.com/2019/08/08/50-accessible-hacks%e2%80%8b-to-make-travel-more-enjoyable-for-people-with-a-disability/, that will be distributed to over 2400 destinations, hotels, attractions and suppliers in travel and disability communities.
*2015 Open Doors Study on the Accessible Travel Market
About TravelAbility Summit
TravelAbility Summit is produced by North American Journeys, a 22 year old company that specializes in “boutique”conferences and media for the tour and travel industry. There has not been a conference addressing the accessible travel market in the US for 13 years. The goal of the conference is for attendees to leave with an in-depth knowledge of the latest innovations, the best practices currently in use and a better understanding of the challenges that face travelers with a disability. Additionally, the conference will focus on changing the perception of accessibility from being a headache and a compliance issue to an important business driver.
TravelAbility Summit will be open with a special LaunchPad session on the afternoon of Nov.11th with 2 full day sessions on the 12th and13th in San Francisco, CA.
TravelAbility Summit: www.travelabilitysummit.com
SOURCE North American Journeys