Are you ready to make your hotel or resort a welcoming environment for all guests, including those who identify as neurodivergent? With around 15-20 % of the population falling under this category (and some publications citing over 30%), it’s high time we make some adjustments to accommodate everyone’s unique needs.
To put it simply, neurodivergent individuals have brains that function unlike what our society expects. You can think of it as having a different operating system installed in your brain. Neurodiversity encompasses developmental disorders that include, but are not limited to, ADHD, Tourette syndrome, dyslexia and autism.
Now Roll Out the Hospitality
To make your property more accommodating, consider some of these winning ideas:
- Create a special area for guests who are neurodivergent and their families. Think of it as a secret hideout that provides a break from the hustle and bustle of the main facility.
- Provide sensory-friendly items such as weighted blankets in rooms or bean bag chairs in lounge areas. Some of these items may feel like a cozy, calming hug to your weary travelers.
- Provide for sensory modifications – such as playing music in public spaces at a reduced volume and giving your guests control over dimming lights.
- Assign rooms on quiet corridors to guests who request sensory-friendly accommodations and guide them to lower-sensory areas of the resort for activities beyond their rooms. This allows your guests to find the ideal balance in both private and social spaces on your property.
- Offer visual schedules to help guests remember what comes next in a series of activities or remind them of options when they’re feeling overwhelmed. There is nothing wrong with sharing a handy cheat sheet for those who need it.
- Adjust meals as needed, providing tables in areas with less activity or noise and offering items à la carte on your menu. It is almost like providing the option of a personal chef to your guests but without the extra overhead.
- Train staff on how to support neurodivergent guests. This can include providing staff with information about neurodiversity, teaching them how to communicate effectively and showing them how to provide additional support as needed. The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) details the benefits of Neurodiversity Training for employees here.
- Launch an Autism Concierge service, similar to that of Karisma Hotels and Resorts, that can provide additional support and resources for guests including information on local attractions and arranging transportation to help make their stay stress-free. Happy guests become frequent guests.
- Provide guests with a resort sensory guide and map, highlighting areas to escape loud noises or bright lights – it’s like a treasure map but the treasure they will find is peace and quiet (if they need it). The sensory guide Legoland Resort in Florida created for their neurodivergent travelers is a perfect example.
By taking these steps, you can create an inclusive and welcoming environment that caters to the unique needs of each guest. This, in turn, can attract more neurodivergent travelers and build a fun and engaging community in your establishment.
If you’re ready to make your property more accommodating for all travelers, consider partnering with the award-winning travel and tourism marketing professionals at Dana Communications. Contact Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or email@example.com today. We help you put the “fun” in functional and make your establishment a welcoming environment for all guests!