These three real life case studies demonstrate a strong business case for having an accessible website.
Website accessibility, at its core, is about equality and making the world a more inclusive place. It’s about tackling the problems faced by real people and ensuring that everyone has fair access to information. For businesses, this means that your website and content should be accessible by all potential customers—including those with any physical or mental disabilities.
In addition to the ethical responsibilities, there’s a strong business case to be made for website accessibility. This is especially true for companies in the hospitality industry, which thrive on delighting guests and providing excellent customer service.
Having an accessible website opens the door to several business advantages. It will amplify audience reach, increase profits, enhance brand image, strengthen customer loyalty, and minimize legal risk. In turn, web accessibility is an investment that generates a strong ROI for savvy business owners.
These three real life examples demonstrate the business case for those who have invested in website accessibility, and in turn, reaped the rewards. They also show the many risks and costs associated with inaction.
Reverie Retreat wanted to redesign their website because they weren’t getting as much traffic as they wanted. They also had the goal of elevating their brand and attracting a more affluent clientele, which was more in line with the social mission of the rejuvenating Sierra Nevada escape.
ADS took on this project to complete a full website redesign and branding. The rebrand was done to appeal to the new audience segment, including professional photography, new copy, social media links, a calendar of events and much more. The all-new website was improved to make navigation easier and better for people of all abilities.
Behind the scenes and under the hood, ADS and our Accessibility Advisory Board ensured that every aspect of the Reverie Retreat site provides an inviting and compelling experience to people of all abilities 25% of people with a disability. The Reverie Retreat site is now WCAG 2.1 AA certified, shielding the business from ADA lawsuits.
Since the redesign went live, their website visitors have quadrupled—greatly boosting bookings and revenue. This is also a forward-looking commercial opportunity, as the number of people living with a disability worldwide is over 1 billion and growing (with a total spending power of $7 trillion).
Very importantly, Reverie reports that with the new site, they are now attracting the exact market they want to attract, including getting booking from a much larger number of seniors.
The new site allows Reverie to use its own booking agent instead of relying solely on systems like Airbnb. Now, a year since their redesign went live, their site visits have quadrupled and over 50% of the bookings come through their website directly (instead of AirBnB)—and they’re attracting the exact type of guests they want.
In 2016, Guillermo Robles, a blind man from California, sued Domino’s Pizza after he was unable to order food online. He claimed that the pizza franchise’s website and mobile app weren’t compatible with his screen reader software, which is used to convert digital text into speech.
His attorneys argued that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to make their online platforms just as accessible as their physical locations.
Five years after the lawsuit was first filed, the court found that Domino’s Pizza had violated the ADA because it wasn’t fully accessible to the blind. In addition to a large financial fine, the court ordered Domino’s to bring its website into compliance with WCAG 2.0 guidelines.
The result was seen as a loss for the company and a win for disability advocates, who argue that those with disabilities could be shut out of substantial parts of society if businesses don’t have to maintain accessible websites.
Disability rights advocates weren’t the only ones who took notice. The lawsuit dragged on for more than five years. So in addition to the hefty legal fees, Domino’s had to deal with a PR nightmare every step of the way. This reputational damage could have been avoided if they had invested in accessibility ahead of time.
While this was a particularly high-profile case that drew lots of attention, lawsuits of this nature are rapidly increasing.
Barclay’s: Enhanced Brand Image
Years ago, Barclays established a company-wide accessibility strategy. The management team had the goal of identifying, anticipating and addressing the growing needs of existing and potential customers.
This led the British bank to develop a number of tailored services to foster an inclusive culture, create new ways to communicate with customers, and enhance their overall online banking experience.
Their redesigned website included a number of innovative features, such as virtual sign language interpreter services, compatibility with assistive devices, and third-party access to bank accounts (to a capable family member, for example). Barclays has since expanded above and beyond to include talking cash machines (a first of its kind in the UK) and high visibility debit cards.
The mindset shifted away from minimum legal compliance and towards a desire to build better experiences for everyone. This customer-focused approach to their services is highlighted in their Accessible Banking campaign, which sheds light on real customers living with different impairments and how they’ve benefited from these new features.
As a result of their accessibility and diversity initiatives, Barclays has greatly strengthened its overall brand image. The company is seen in a new light—perceived as open, inclusive and human. Customers are happy to do business with them and employees are proud to represent their work culture. Barclays has been mentioned as a leader in an emerging space, generating countless amounts of press coverage in the process.
This client-oriented approach also deepened the customer loyalty among existing clients who bank with Barclays. They point to their new features as having a competitive advantage over the other stuffy corporate banks they’re going up against. Accessible services aren’t (yet) the norm, so brands who take the initiative are likely to be rewarded with loyal customers because competitors don’t offer similar alternatives.
Not only are these customers loyal, but they’re also recommending and advocating for Barclays based on their own positive experiences. That’s not to mention their entire network of family and friends, who make decisions about where to shop, dine and bank, based on how their loved ones are treated.
These current customers aren’t only loyal, but they’re also recommending and advocating for your business based on their own positive experiences. That’s not to mention their entire network of family and friends, who make decisions about where to shop, dine and bank, especially after seeing how their loved ones are treated.
Having an accessible website is no longer a “nice to have” option. It’s a business necessity, especially within the hospitality industry.
Web accessibility boils down to creating an inclusive environment for all your guests. It has several business benefits—but how do you get started?
Schedule a FREE accessibility assessment today.