All Access Wake County Ensures “All Are Welcome” in Raleigh
Monday, November 25, 2019, 2pm
Visit Raleigh and the GRSA hold accessibility awareness and training summit for more than 150 hospitality partners; launches new digital accessibility solution AudioEye on VisitRaleigh.com website.
Raleigh, N.C. (Nov. 25, 2019) – With one billion people worldwide and over 41 million Americans having some form of disability (visual, auditory, motor or cognitive), many people want to travel but find the challenges of navigating a new destination to be so daunting they get discouraged and choose not to go. For that reason, last Monday, November 18, Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) held “All Access Wake County” the first ever accessibility awareness and training summit for restaurants, hotels, attractions, retailers and event venues throughout Wake County. More than 150 hospitality industry employees participated in summit which was held at the Raleigh Convention Center.
“We created ‘All Access Wake County’ to train, equip and motivate all Wake County hospitality partners to go above and beyond just being ADA compliant,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “The hospitality industry here in Raleigh, N.C. lives by the motto ‘All Are Welcome’ and we want those with all types of disabilities to know that includes them. This training summit was the first step in ensuring Wake County remains accessible and welcoming for all.”
“All Access Wake County” was kicked-off with an opening keynote presentation by Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, authors of the book “I’ll Push You” and subjects of the documentary by the same title chronicling their journey to become the first to complete the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in Spain by wheelchair. Subsequent educational and breakout sessions (based on industry cluster) covered:
- ADA compliance, new developments and ways to make your business more accessible
- Making digital content more accessible
- Disability etiquette for interacting with customers with disabilities
- Appropriate language and terminology
- What are basic ADA accommodations and how to find them (ASL, audio description, etc.)
- Resources for staff training
Attendee Joseph Gosselin, conference services manager at Raleigh Marriott City Center, said “I’ve been in hospitality ever since I started working. Today was one of the most beneficial days of my career. The class was informative, inspiring and so helpful to us over at the hotel.”
This summit was the kickoff for a larger initiative, which includes a new accessibility resource portal at VisitRaleigh.com/allaccess. This training resource encourages hospitality partners to provide extraordinary customer service for people with disabilities by educating them on immediate and long-term steps to providing effective service to guests with accessibility challenges.
In conjunction with the training summit and new accessibility resource portal, Visit Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) also implemented a digital accessibility solution called AudioEye on their websites, VisitRaleigh.com and RaleighSports.org. AudioEye, the leader in cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) digital content accessibility solutions, is a leading web accessibility company with technology for sustainable compliance with ADA-related requirements and enhanced user experience to make enhancements to websites. These assistive tools have benefits for all VisitRaleigh.com and RaleighSports.org site visitors, in particular, aging populations and individuals who have vision, hearing, motor or intellectual (cognitive) disabilities. These tools also benefit those who are color blind, dyslexic, are learning to read, learning a second language or may prefer listening instead of reading.
VisitRaleigh.com and RaleighSports.org received the AudioEye Trusted Certification, offering an accessible user experience by conforming to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA. As stated by AudioEye co-founder, president and chief strategy officer Sean Bradley, “In partnering with AudioEye to provide an accessible website, Visit Raleigh and the GRSA are leading the way in digital inclusivity for the travel and destination marketplace. Accessible travel begins online, and Visit Raleigh’s site now enables all people with disabilities to seamlessly navigate their digital content, ensuring a more inclusive online experience.”
Visit Raleigh and the GRSA are one of only a handful of destination organizations across the U.S. utilizing this product on their website to make it fully accessible to all.
“Bottom line is, accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. It is changing your mindset, your outlook, your mentality. It’s becoming more aware and adopting a lifestyle of inclusivity – in both the physical and digital world,” said Dennis Edwards, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh). “We are proud to be addressing the need for digital inclusion by making VisitRaleigh.com and RaleighSports.org accessible to everyone and ensuring it remains the go-to website for potential visitors looking for inspiration, information and useful tools to help them plan their next trip to Raleigh, N.C.”
About the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh):
As the official destination marketing organization for Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh), is responsible for promoting Wake County as an attractive travel destination and enhancing its public image as a dynamic place to live and work. Through the impact of travel, the organization strengthens the economic position of and provide opportunity for people throughout Wake County. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes nearly 17 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.7 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 27,000 local jobs in Wake County and generates $268 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $700 in taxes annually. VisitRaleigh.com.
About the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA):
A division of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh) - the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance (GRSA) markets and promotes Raleigh and all of Wake County in order to generate and/or retain sports-related businesses (tournaments, championships, special events and meetings) for the purpose of economic development. Raleigh, N.C./Wake County welcomes more than 16 million visitors annually whose spending tops $2.5 billion. The visitor economy supports more than 26,170 local jobs in Wake County and generates more than $250 million in state and local tax revenues, saving each Wake County household $671 in taxes annually. RaleighSports.org.
About AudioEye, Inc.:
AudioEye is a technology company serving businesses committed to providing equal access to their digital content. Through patented technology, subject matter expertise and proprietary processes, AudioEye is transforming how the world experiences digital content. Leading with technology, AudioEye identifies and resolves issues of accessibility and enhances the user experience, making digital content more accessible and more usable for more people. AudioEye's common stock trades on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol "AEYE." The Company maintains offices in Tucson, Scottsdale, Atlanta, New York and Washington D.C. For more information about AudioEye and its online accessibility solutions, please visit audioeye.com.
Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (Visit Raleigh)
Scott Peacock, Director of Public Relations
# # #