Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. - Training a Destination Marketing Organization About Accessibility and Inclusion

Tourisim, Hospitality &
Destination Marketing
Consulting Services


Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

The Market You’re Missing:People with Disabilities

Due to a variety of factors, ever increasing numbers of people with disabilities are traveling for work and/or pleasure. Consider these statistics:

Illustration of people with various disabilities
Up to 1 in 4 (27 percent) adults in the United States have some type of disability.
[Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2023]
Of those who have a disability and travel:
84%
cited a need for increased information on accessibility available prior to visiting, that determines where to visit.
70%
have taken at least one trip.
42%
have taken 3 or more trips.
27million
travelers spend
$58.2billion
per year on travel, having taken a total of
81million trips
59%
of adults have taken a trip that includes a stay in an accommodation. That's 23 million travelers took 68.7 million hotel-based trips.
[Source: Open Doors Organization Market Study 2020]

What has your marketing efforts done to capture your share of this untapped demographic?

Are your staff aware of the needs of the disabled traveler and confident that they can interact appropriately with them?

As a destination marketing organization disability inclusion expert, I’m here to help.

"Rosemarie contracted with our organization, Experience Columbus, to assist in launching the city’s first accessibility guide in July 2022.

Rosemarie is a trailblazer and advocate in our community. We were proud to have her present our paid media efforts as an ambassador this past summer.

Working with her has been an incredible perk of my job and I have learned so much from her professionalism and kindness."

Ashley Vukovic, CTA, Senior Director, Integrated Marketing and Communications
Experience Columbus

Having been paralyzed from the waist down with a spinal cord injury, my experience in a wheelchair has taught me about accessibility. I know what needs to be anticipated and arranged to accommodate people with various disabilities including limitations with mobility, cognition, sight, and hearing.

I am an expert in the Americans with Disabilities Act and other accessibility standards as well as universal design practices.

Accommodation Defined

There is a difference between accessible design and universal design. Accessible design is more than just code compliance. Its major emphasis is on usability. Good accessible design includes usability and equity as a goal. Thus, the end result is the optimization of the human experience.

Universal design goes above compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, which are viewed as minimum standards. Universal design is a framework or philosophy benefitting people of all sizes, ages, and abilities. The people visiting your city!

Rosemarie Rossetti asking a question of hotel lobby guest services representative

What are the Problems that Rossetti Solves?

Rosemarie Rossetti teaching at at corporate client's training room

CHALLENGES related to ...

Exclusion

The unique needs of people with disabilities that are not taken into account when marketing a city.

Unfamiliarity

A lack of awareness about the needs of people with disabilities when planning and executing marketing campaigns.

Poor Outcomes

Failure to pre-plan leads to stress, costly makeshift solutions and unsatisfactory results. People with disabilities are not accommodated.

The Economic Benefits of Disability Inclusion

Increased Tourism Revenue


By actively promoting disability-inclusive travel, DMOs can attract a larger segment of the population that includes people with disabilities, their families, and friends.

This can result in increased tourism revenue as more individuals choose accessible destinations that cater to their needs.

Expansion of Customer Base


According to the World Health Organization, around 15% of the global population lives with a disability, representing a substantial consumer base.

By actively accommodating the needs of people with disabilities, DMOs can expand their customer base and attract visitors who might have otherwise been deterred by accessibility barriers.

Enhanced Reputation and Competitive Advantage


DMOs that prioritize disability inclusion demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and diversity.

Such organizations are likely to earn a positive reputation within the tourism industry and among travelers, including people with disabilities.

By positioning themselves as inclusive destinations, DMOs gain a competitive advantage over other locations that have not prioritized disability inclusion.

Longer Stays and Repeat Visits


By providing accessible facilities, services, and information, DMOs can encourage people with disabilities to extend their stay and explore more of what a destination has to offer.

Additionally, positive experiences can lead to repeat visits and word-of-mouth recommendations, attracting more visitors and fostering long-term tourism sustainability.

Job Creation and Accelerated Economic Development


Developing a disability-inclusive tourism sector requires investments in infrastructure, training, and services, leading to job creation and economic growth.

Accessible tourism initiatives can create employment opportunities in areas such as accessible transportation, accommodation, tour guiding, and specialized services, benefiting the local economy and communities.

Social Responsibility and Ethical Positioning


Embracing disability inclusion aligns with principles of social responsibility and ethical business practices.

DMOs that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity demonstrate a commitment to equal opportunities for all travelers, promoting a positive image and reinforcing their brand values.

What Can You Expect from Rossetti as your Disability Inclusion Consultant?

Create Appropriate Marketing Strategies

Review and suggest improvements for website accessibility and useability. Ensure compliance with WGAC standards. Make suggestions on how to improve the accessibility for people with low or no vision who use screen readers.

Work with your team to develop new content and review existing content to enhance attractiveness and engagement of potential disabled visitors. This content can include general website copy, blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, social media posts, and interactive maps that showcase your destination's attractions, events, and experiences. Suggest photos/graphics to include more references to people with disabilities. Make suggestions for alt text for digital photos/graphics. Review and make improvements for language appropriateness.

Rosemarie Rossetti being interviewed for a Destination Marketing Organization podcast by iHeart Radio

Review and suggest improvements to advertising campaigns that will raise awareness about your region as an accessible destination. This may include print ads, digital ads, television commercials, radio spots, and outdoor advertising. Suggest judicious use of photos and graphics depicting disabled individuals / groups successfully visiting your region.

Review and suggest improvements to content that is distributed various media outlets, travel journalists, and influencers to generate positive coverage about your region as an accessible destination.

Review and suggest improvements to visitor guides, brochures, and maps that provide detailed information about your region's destination, including recommended attractions, activities, and services. These materials are often available at visitor centers, hotels, travel agencies, and online platforms.

Assess and make recommendations of your region's various amenities. Suggest low and no cost changes to properties to make them more accessible. Can include transportation modalities, public restrooms, access to elevators, etc.

Watch on YouTube

Staff Training Demo (4:01)

Staff and Community Training

Your staff and DMO membership will become comfortable using proper protocols when interacting with people with disabilities.

Knowing what to say or do (or NOT what to say or do), will instill confidence in your staff and lead to positive feedback from your region's guests.

Accessibility/Inclusion training can be delivered in person, virtually or hybrid to your:

  • DMO full-time and part-time staff
  • Board of Directors
  • DMO Membership
  • Certified Tourism Ambassadors

DMO Ambassador

Need a seasoned pro as video or audio talent for your accessibility marketing efforts?

Or, will you have a major event in your region and need guidance for exhibitors, vendors, attendees and facilities?

Rosemarie can serve as a liaison to consult, advise and direct staff and suggest adjustments. She will help avoid serious problems that people with disabilities may experience.

Why Rossetti is the Right Choice

Rosemarie Rossetti speaking at TEDx.
  • Knows from personal experience as a woman who has used a wheelchair since June 1998 how the built environment can either restrict or enable independence.
  • Since 1997 she has been an international speaker at various venues, knowing firsthand the potential problems and challenges people with disabilities face.
  • Has extensively traveled throughout North America to access built environments.
  • Delivered presentations in-person and virtually on the topic of disability inclusion.
  • Wrote on the topic of disability inclusion in publications.
  • Interviewed on podcasts on the topic of disability inclusion.
  • Is a master communicator and consummate professional.
  • In the know as a leading expert on the topics of disability inclusion, universal design, and accessible design.

Make an intentional choiceto take advantage of thisgrowing disability inclusionopportunity.

ContactRosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.and put her on your team today!

Media / Articles — click / tap to view

The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Accessibility Features  
The Palm Beaches New!

The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts Accessibility Features

A Wheelchair-Accessible Itinerary in Palm Beach  
The Palm Beaches New!

A Wheelchair-Accessible Itinerary in Palm Beach

A Wheelchair Accessible Itinerary in West Palm Beach Florida  
The Palm Beaches New!

A Wheelchair Accessible Itinerary in West Palm Beach Florida

Article Cover - Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers - Part 2  
Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association

Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers - Part 2

Article Cover - Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers - Part 1  
Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association

Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers - Part 1

Article Cover - Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers  
Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association

Attracting, Serving and Supporting Disabled Travelers

Article Cover - Six Accessible Places to Visit in Loudoun  
Visit Loudoun

Six Accessible Places to Visit in Loudoun

Article Cover - Ways to Make Loudoun County Businesses More Accessible  
Visit Loudoun

Ways to Make Loudoun County Businesses More Accessible

Podcast Cover - Designing Accessible Meetings with Rosemarie Rossetti  
The Palm Beaches

Designing Accessible Meetings with Rosemarie Rossetti - PODCAST

Article Cover - The Truth About Traveling While Disabled  
Thrillist

The Truth About Traveling While Disabled

Article Cover - All Access - Going Beyond ADA Compliance  
Association Conventions and Facilities Magazine

All Access - Going Beyond ADA Compliance

Article Cover - Roll Play: Wheelchair User Shows PCMA Meeting Planners how Columbus Convention Center can be more Inclusive  
Travelability Insider

Roll Play: Wheelchair User Shows PCMA Meeting Planners how Columbus Convention Center can be more Inclusive

Article Cover - Are Your Business Meetings Truly Accessible?  
Skift Meetings

Are Your Business Meetings Truly Accessible?

Article Cover - PCMA Convening Leaders Takes Over Columbus, Ohio  
Skift Meetings

PCMA Convening Leaders Takes Over Columbus, Ohio

Article Cover - Cruising on Wonder of the Seas  
Mélange Accessible Journeys Magazine

Cruising on Wonder of the Seas

Article Cover - 2022 Holiday Performances in Accessible Columbus Theaters  
Experience Columbus

2022 Holiday Performances in Accessible Columbus Theaters

Article Cover - Accessible Parks in Columbus  
Experience Columbus

Accessible Parks in Columbus

Article Cover - Where to Find Accessible Transportation in Columbus  
Experience Columbus

Where to Find Accessible Transportation in Columbus

Article Cover - Tips for Planning an Accessible Meeting in Columbus  
Experience Columbus

Tips for Planning an Accessible Meeting in Columbus

Article Cover - Accessible Outdoor Dining in Columbus  
Experience Columbus

Accessible Outdoor Dining in Columbus

Summer Ambassador for Experience Columbus, Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.  
Experience Columbus

2022 Summer Ambassador Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

Article Cover - Skift Meetings - Disability and Inclusion  
Skift Meetings

What Makes Events Truly Accessible

Article Cover - Why COVID-19 Has Made Universal Design More Important for Seniors Home Based Care Providers  
AARP Travel

How to Find the Best Hotels for Wheelchair Users

Article Cover - What We Talk About When We Talk About Inclusion at Events  
HUBB Webinar On Demand

What We Talk About When We Talk About Inclusion at Events

Article Cover - How to Better Accommodate People with Disabilities at Meetings and Events  
ASAE Blog Article

How to Better Accommodate People with Disabilities at Meetings and Events

Article Cover - Tips to Help Meeting Professionals Plan Inclusive Meetings and Events  
MPI Blog Article

Tips to Help Meeting Professionals Plan Inclusive Meetings and Events

Article Cover - How to Create Accessible Digital Events (Podcast)  
Northstar Meetings Group

How to Create Accessible Digital Events (Podcast)

Article Cover - Adapt to Dining and Networking Challenges  
Special Events Galore

Adapt to Dining and Networking Challenges

Article Cover - How to Provide a Ramp and Stage for Speakers  
MPI Blog Article

How to Provide a Ramp and Stage for Speakers

Article Cover - How to Assist and Best Communicate With People With Disabilities at Your Events  
Northstar Meetings Group

How to Assist and Best Communicate With People With Disabilities at Your Events

Article Cover - The Gift of Inclusive Design (Podcast)  
PUSHLiving Magazine

The Gift of Inclusive Design (Podcast)

Article Cover - How to Plan Truly Accessible Meetings and Events (Podcast)  
Northstar Meetings Group

How to Plan Truly Accessible Meetings and Events (Podcast)

Article Cover - Tips to Accommodate Participants with Disabilities  
MPI Blog Article

Tips to Accommodate Participants with Disabilities

Article Cover - The State of Inclusion in Meetings & Events  
MPI Foundation Research Report

The State of Inclusion in Meetings & Events

Article Cover - How To Accommodate People with Disabilities at Meetings  
Smart Meetings Online

How To Accommodate People with Disabilities at Meetings

Partial Client List

  • Alliance of Independent Meeting Professionals
  • American Society of Association Executives
  • Disability Training Alliance
  • Experience Columbus
  • Hubb
  • IMEX America
  • Loudoun Convention & Visitors Association
  • Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress
  • Meeting Professionals International - Michigan Chapter
  • Meeting Professionals International - Mid America Conference
  • Meeting Professionals International - Middle Pennsylvania Chapter
  • Meeting Professionals International - North Florida Chapter
  • Meeting Professionals International - Ohio Chapter
  • Meeting Professionals International - Philadelphia Chapter
  • Meeting Professionals International - Pittsburgh Chapter
  • MeetingsNet
  • National Diversity Council
  • Northstar Meetings Group Independent Planners Education Conference
  • Professional Convention Management Association [Multiple Engagements]
  • Society of Government Meeting Professionals [Multiple Engagements]
  • The Ohio State University Hospitality Management Program
  • The Palm Beaches
  • Visit Denver
 

What Clients Say

"Rosemarie's session at our meeting on being inclusive when planning meetings was a hit! In-person and virtual participants rated our speaker a 4.86 out of 5 which is outstanding!

Her willingness to tailor her program to our audience was so appreciated and gave the attendees usable takeaways. She is definitely an expert in this field and an asset to any event."

Jan Spence, CSP, Director of Education
MPI North Florida Chapter

"I am continually impressed with Rosemarie's passion and insight around designing inclusive events. Rosemarie joined Hubb for a panel on inclusive hybrid event design and her depth of knowledge, powerful personal story, and masterful speaking blew our audience away. We had one of our highest net promoter scores and received glowing reviews from our audience.

Rosemarie can introduce new ideas and actionable strategies in a way that is easy to understand and connect with. I highly recommend to any meeting planner to invite Rosemarie to be a part of your event or to use her extensive knowledge on inclusive design thinking at your next meeting."

Allie Magyar, Founder and CEO
Hubb