Good access is frightfully good for business

Sara Barlow, Dark Stories True Crime Tours

When a business removes physical, sensory and attitudinal barriers, it becomes more accessible to a greater number of people.

For Brisbane's Dark Stories True Crime Tours, thoughtful changes have had frightfully positive business impacts.

General Manager, Sara Barlow, said accessibility was part of all of their tours.

"Our focus has always been on inclusivity rather than outdoing competitors, and we made a conscious decision to ensure our tours are accessible to everyone," she said.

"We have a general route that encapsulates all the beautiful parts of Brisbane, but there are also multiple alternate routes to reflect different levels of access.

"For example, if someone asks, 'can we use a wheelchair?', we'll have a different route to avoid tricky paths that still enables the group to see the site and building in our story."

Training and support are key

Sara believes staff training and support is key to running an inclusive business. 

Dark Stories have built a great support system for staff, who also receive extensive training on adapting tours to customer needs.

"Training is always hands on with a senior host so new hosts experience tours with practical examples," she said.

"All hosts need to know in real time how to adjust the pace of a tour to suit different groups, replacing certain parts of a route for a different one and knowing when to call someone for support.

"We always have staff available to help our hosts, so they know they have a support network just a phone call away."

While route options have ensured all guests can enjoy the city's dark stories, Sara said the business continued to make accessibility improvements.

"We have a special requirements section in our online bookings and we always ask people to let us know if they have any."

Increasing accessibility in Brisbane

Council is also enhancing accessibility across its spaces with a recent example being Quiet Afternoons at the Museum of Brisbane.

Quiet Afternoons reduces sensory stimuli such as light, looping sound and loud noises to provide an alternate museum experience.

Visitors are invited to undertake a relaxed experience, where they can explore exhibitions in peace and quiet, from 3-5pm every Tuesday.

Do you have a story?

Tell us about your business accessibility improvements and customer responses, problems solved, or what's on your to-do list by emailing Council.

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Topics: business

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