AccessFest: Showing Hotels Disability Matters!

AccessFest: Showing Hotels Disability Matters!

From Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA

By supporting AccessFest, you'll enable travel for millions of people with disabilities! Help us show hotels that accessibility is not only right ethically, but smart financially!

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Update #34

over 1 year ago

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted that #AccessFest Edinburgh is now live! With over 4 million visitors each year, Edinburgh is a huge attraction. Thanks to your fantastic support, we've just made the information of the city just that little more accessible for guests.

Stay tuned for the final 3 but first please click here for the free guide that you've helped to shape: http://bit.ly/2becAK4

With immense gratitude again,
Yeshwant and Ben

More Info

The Goal:

£15,000: Our minimum goal to create great guides to AccessFest destinations. With this we will be able to cover London, Brighton, and Edinburgh and share AccessFest's story with the world. With Fundly, it's all or nothing so if we don't reach our minimum, no money will leave your account and AccessFest will not happen : (  

£25,000: Help us reach our dream goal! This amount will enable us to add Bath and Bristol to the list of accessible festival destinations. It will also help us develop an android version of our assessment app so that any hotel in the world will be able to create an AccessProfile and start welcoming guests with disabilities.

The Team:

We're Yeshwant and Ben and we're working towards enabling travel for millions of people with disabilities around the World (Click here for a bit more about us: http://www.umoja.in/team-umoja/). 

The Problem:

Organising a hotel stay may seem straight-forward, but many people with disabilities face multiple obstacles in finding, researching, choosing, and booking the right room. Our friend Malini, like many of the 1.1 billion people with disabilities globally, spends hours calling up hotels to see if they have access ramps in the lobby or doorways wide enough for her wheelchair to pass through.

Very often the hotel either doesn’t know the answer or simply gets it wrong, meaning that when Malini shows up, the place isn’t accessible for her at all! 

Sadly, Malini's story is not uncommon. Statistics show that 42% of people with disabilities find access related information to be insufficient, unreliable or hard to find. Inaccurate or unspecific access information can mean a total travel disaster, and so sadly many choose to stay home.

Despite accessible travel being an £85 billion market, we've found hotels are hesitant to address this segment as accessibility can be a complex subject which is easy to get wrong.

That's why we need your support to visit these locations, create these AccessGuides, and get persons with disabilities to visit these festivals, ultimately showing hotels that if they invest in detailed and dependable access information, they WILL see the rewards.   

Our Solution: UMOJA's AccessMatch engine

Our solution is a free and easy to use app that any hotel can download, and in 90 mins create a comprehensive access profile of their property. Once a hotel completes its AccessProfile, it seamlessly uploads to our database and gets added to our library of hotels. Travellers can then log on to www.UMOJA.in and easily search for hotels that are accessible to them. Check this video out to see how our AccessMatch engine works: http://bit.ly/1ESXzS6

We've tried and tested UMOJA with people with disabilities and industry experts alike (we were invited to present at Destinations for All: Montreal, World accessible travel Summit: http://bit.ly/1mjeyam). 

We know UMOJA works, We know UMOJA enables people to find accessible hotels, but we need your support to get more properties on board.  Forward thinking brands such as the Taj Hotels, Marriott, Radisson, and a few others are already working with us to address accessibility, but that's just the start.  Help us show hotels that accessibility is worth investing in!

Our Mentor

We’re teaming up with our friend & mentor Malini Chib, the chairperson of the ADAPT rights group, author of “One little finger” (detailing living and excelling with Cerebral Palsy), and influence behind the award winning film “Margarita with a Straw”, to prove to the hotel industry that focussing on accessibility is not only the right thing to do ethically, but the smart thing to do financially. Malini brings a huge amount of energy and experience to AccessFest, and we couldn't do it without her.

The Project: AccessFest

To get hotels on board with accessibility we’re launching the UMOJA AccessFest campaign.  We're creating comprehensive AccessGuides, centered around UMOJA’s detailed hotel profiles, for great festival destinations such as London, Brighton, Bath, Bristol, and Edinburgh. With your help Malini and Ben will travel to each of these destinations to gather lots of fantastic access information about where to stay, eat, how to get around, and how to visit these festivals. We will also develop android and windows versions of our iPad assessment app to enable further scalability. All this will cost under 25,000 pounds! (Check out our budget breakdown here: http://bit.ly/1Ic2b5L).

We're going to make a film of Malini’s journey to share with the world and make sure the message gets to the festival-loving audience we’re trying to reach. With your help, our guides will enable anyone with a disability to experience some of the UK’s greatest cultural events. 

AccessFest is just the start. By showing the hospitality industry that disability can mean business, you can help kickstart a movement that sparks interest in accessibility from hotels across the world.

Thank you, so much, from all of us!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #35

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted that #AccessFest Edinburgh is now live! With over 4 million visitors each year, Edinburgh is a huge attraction. Thanks to your fantastic support, we've just made the information of the city just that little more accessible for guests.

Stay tuned for the final 3 but first please click here for the free guide that you've helped to shape: http://bit.ly/2becAK4

With immense gratitude again,
Yeshwant and Ben

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #34

And then there was Edinburgh....

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted that #AccessFest Edinburgh is now live! With over 4 million visitors each year, Edinburgh is a huge attraction. Thanks to your fantastic support, we've just made the information of the city just that little more accessible for guests.

Stay tuned for the final 3 but first please click here for the free guide that you've helped to shape: http://bit.ly/2becAK4

With immense gratitude again,
Yeshwant and Ben

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #33

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted and incredibly proud to announce that the very first AccessFest Guide is (DRUMROLL) lIVE!! 4 more cities to follow but click here (http://bit.ly/1Pk3QLT) to see what you've helped shape in Brighton.

We really couldn't have done this without you so HUGE THANKS from the bottoms of our hearts! Stay tuned for the other 4!

With immense gratitude,
Ben and Yeshwant

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #32

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted and incredibly proud to announce that the very first AccessFest Guide is (DRUMROLL) lIVE!! 4 more cities to follow but click below to see what you helped shape in Brighton: http://bit.ly/1Pk3QLT

We really couldn't have done this without you so HUGE THANKS from the bottoms of our hearts! Stay tuned for the other 4!

With immense gratitude,
Ben and Yeshwant

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #31

Proud to announce AccessFest Brighton is live (http://bit.ly/1Pk3QLT )!! Thanks so much for your support!! Best, Ben and Yeshwant

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 1 year ago

Update #30

Dear Supporters,

We're delighted and incredibly proud to announce that the very first AccessFest Guide is (DRUMROLL) lIVE!! 4 more cities to follow but click below to see what you helped shape in Brighton:

http://media.lonelyplanet.com/shop/media/Brighton_Access_A_Festival_Guide_Final.pdf

We really couldn't have done this without you so HUGE THANKS from the bottoms of our hearts! Stay tuned for the other 4!

With immense gratitude,
Ben and Yeshwant

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
almost 2 years ago

Update #29

Happy weekend UMOJAnators!

Here's a walkthrough of AskItalian restaurant, a recommended #AccessFest restaurant in Edinburgh that has some very good features for wheelchair users and people with mobility impairments. See the video for details. Don't forget to click on the CC icon if you require subtitles! LOTS more to come from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol, stay tuned!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPcXzWRS4Eo

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
almost 2 years ago

Update #28

Dear UMOJAnators (aka friends of UMOJA),

We're delighted to announce that we've just made our very first #AccessFest trip to Scotland! Thanks to your generous support and guidance, we've been able to visit accessible hotels, restaurants, museums, bars (and much, much more) in Edinburgh and Glasgow!

We're editing our fun content to share with you over the next few weeks. Until then, check out the access profiles of these trailblazing Edinburgh hotels: https://www.umoja.in/location/edinburgh/?collection_id=5329

Much, much more to follow. Stay tuned!!

Best,
Yeshwant and Ben

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
about 2 years ago

Update #27

We're delighted to announce that @#TheFEDCentreforIndependentLiving and @#VisitBrighton are going to help us select the #AccessFest award winner for most accessible Brighton Hotel (winner to be announced on Disabled Access Day: 12/3/16)!Thanks to all of you, our fantastic supporters, for helping us reach this stage and MASSIVE shout-outs to Malini, Mercy and Sophie for all their invaluable contributions. Without you, this would not have been possible! This is only the start and we've got some great plans for the UK, India and beyond. Stay tuned tomorrow for a very exciting announcement about our Accessible India Campaign. Happy International Day of Persons with Disabilities in advance !!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
about 2 years ago

Update #26

3/3 London Apex hotels added to #AccessFest thanks to some more great assistance from @MercyMe shiks. All London/Brighton Hotel Access Profiles to be uploaded onto live site shortly. Watch this space for more information!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #25

Delighted to have visited 2 more Brighton hotels with Sophie Reilly, Trustee of the fantastic FED centre for independent living in Brighton (http://www.thefedonline.org.uk/). Being both a wheelchair user and registered blind, Sophie provided invaluable input on accessibility needs from a different perspective. Here's us assessing The Hilton, Brighton Metropole. Can you help us reach £10k and take #AccessFest to Bristol?

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #24

Loving this pen-friend menu reader for guests with visual impairments. Great accessibility practice by #Jurys Inn Brighton, 1 of 4 hotels visited last week for #AccessFest. Check out this video: http://bit.ly/1WflDMq

London, Brighton and Edinburgh are happening! Can you help us to reach £10k and take us to Bristol?

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #23

4 Brighton hotels done and passed 50% of our target: Thanks to you: #AccessFest Edinburgh will happen!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #22

Just signed accessible hotel pioneers Lemon Tree as partners! A great brand: http://bit.ly/1PArk3d

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #21

#AccessFest heading to Brighton: 2 hotels next Wednesday! Help us reach Edinburgh with £20.

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #20

Our first 2 Brighton hotels lined up for next week: Thanks to IBIS City Centre and My Hotel Brighton for coming on board and to you all for getting us there with your generous donations! You got £20 spare to bring a little AccessFest to Edinburgh?

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #18

Hi All,

We've managed to extend AccessFest until UN International Day of People with Disabilities on 3rd December. After reaching a 3rd of our initial target, thanks to your generous support, we're determined to give ourselves every chance of making all 5 cities happen.

Here's how your donations can and are already making a difference:

-£10: the cost of a meal for the team on the road,
-£18: an accessible taxi for a hotel assessment,
-£30: a train return from London to Brighton,
-£55: a return flight from London to Edinburgh.

If you’re able to give or share our campaign you can really help us change the travel experiences of people with disabilities! THANK YOU!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #18

Hi All,

We've managed to extend AccessFest until UN International Day of People with Disabilities on 3rd December. After reaching a 3rd of our initial target, thanks to your generous support, we're determined to give ourselves every chance of making all 5 cities happen.

Here's how your donations can and are already making a difference:

-£10: the cost of a meal for the team on the road,
-£18: an accessible taxi for a hotel assessment,
-£30: a train return from London to Brighton,
-£55: a return flight from London to Edinburgh.

If you’re able to give or share our campaign you can really help us change the travel experiences of people with disabilities! THANK YOU!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #17

Another London hotel done, #AccessFest building steam! Brighton's next, get us there with £25. Share our story!!

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Ben and Yeshwant UMOJA posted a new update:
over 2 years ago

Update #16

#AccessFest: London is in full swing! 3 hotels already under way, many more to come! Get us to Brighton with a f'book share -> http://on.fb.me/1EViNyE

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/ #AccessFest