Disabled Fans Need: Assurance Access Requirements Will Be Met

Posted on 04.07.2018

Disabled Fans Need: Assurance Access Requirements Will Be Met

Our 2018 State of Access Report found that Deaf and disabled music fans still face a range of avoidable barriers when trying to book tickets for live music events – over 80% of our survey respondents had experienced problems during the booking process, and three quarters felt discriminated against.

In order to support the live music sector in removing those barriers, we’ve outlined five key things that Deaf and disabled fans need in order to have an equal experience of access booking.

This is the fourth in a series of articles exploring those recommendations in more detail. Read more: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Part 4: Deaf and disabled fans need to be able to trust that their access requirements will be met.

A common theme in our Access Booking Survey was anxiety that booked or stated access requirements might not be met at a gig or concert – something which can completely ruin a paid-for experience. Unfortunately, this fear was often based in personal experience.

“Going to a gig [is a] one-off, so if something isn't suitable, my daughter doesn’t have the option of going somewhere else. The experience is totally ruined and a complete waste of time. We need to be 100% sure that her access requirements will be met.”

We asked survey participants how confident they would be going to a venue for the first time, having registered their access requirements and booked entirely online, without speaking to anyone.

45% of respondents said they would feel confident that their access needs would be met – dependent upon resources such as high quality access information. Only 6% said they would have very low or no confidence.

One thing is totally clear – the more of the following steps venues and events take to put good access in place, the more confident customers feel.

Access Information

76% of survey respondents had been put off booking tickets due to lack of access information – conversely, good access information helps increase confidence:

“If an event had access info [that] was very comprehensive online, I would be confident. However, some venues have hardly any access information on their websites and do not engender as much confidence in me.”

Access Schemes

“I feel confident if I know in advance that the venue understands my access requirements.”

82% of respondents said they would be happy to sign up to a system that allowed them to pre-register access requirements with a venue or event. Additionally, many said it would increase their confidence that their needs will be met.

“AMG have an excellent service [that] speeds the process up and takes away any anxiety that someone may decide I am not entitled to what I need.”

Online Bookings

“I think I would be very comfortable [with online access booking], as the venue [would] seem to know what they are doing.”

As well as being the popular booking method amongst survey respondents (70% would prefer to book online), online booking systems signal to customers that accessibility is being taken seriously. Booking confirmations that include registered access requirements add an extra layer of reassurance.

 “A receipt of the requirements that I had registered, to take with me on the night would make me feel fully confident.”

Flexibility

It’s important that any system, online or offline, is flexible enough to accommodate a diverse range of access requirements, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

“No two people have the same access needs therefore the online system would have to be very detailed or allow lots of free text to ensure the individual access needs are understood and supported.”

Someone to talk to

“I would expect to be able to book a ticket, and then for someone to call me [to confirm].”

For some customers, it’s necessary to contact the venue to discuss complex access requirements. Others need the reassurance of having a booking confirmed directly. Either way, having a dedicated member of staff working on access, contactable via phone and email, is essential.

“I wear a Cochlear Implant and prefer to [sit in a particular location in relation to] the stage, so without having any communication directly with the venue that can be difficult to determine.”


A good access booking system can only be built a solid foundation of good access provision on the ground, disability-aware staff, and watertight communication channels between the box office and front of house – ensuring that customers experience a hassle-free experience at the event that matches the ease of booking.

Our Vision for Access Booking: Customer Confidence

  • Access booking available as soon as tickets go live.
  • Dedicated access staff contactable via phone and email.
  • All venues and annual events operating data protection-compliant access schemes to enable people to submit evidence once to be held on record for a set period of time.
  • Access bookings managed in-house wherever possible.