November 03, 2023
By Cvent Success Team

Why are we talking about Accessibility? 

According to the United Nations, around 15 percent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities.  So, it makes sense that we want to make our personal and professional lives accessible, and that includes your events! This Blog series is here to raise awareness, education and spread positive improvements for everyone. You don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s okay! 

When we think of accessibility, we maybe first think of mobility and access needs but there is so much that we can do to make our events accessible for everyone! During this series we will be considering accessibility for Mobility, visual and hearing impairments, as well as Cognitive disabilities, Neurodivergent Conditions, and mental health conditions. 

Making your events and venues accessible doesn’t mean additional costs or “cost the world” with your company’s sustainability efforts. It’s the little things that can truly make the difference from the registration process, all the way down to post-event engagement. 

2 people in an office looking at a laptop screen. The first person who has their hair in a bun is pointing at the screen. The second person with a floral blouse is leaning on the desk looking at what is being shown to them while looking very interested

Making Sure your Venue is Accessible for everyone

You’ve got an idea of what you want your event to be about, you’ve been given your budget and you’re confident on the anticipated number of attendees you expect to attend. Now, we need to somewhere to host your event!  Whether the event is sourced via the Cvent Supplier Network, or through a trusted partner you have a long term relationship with, we should be mindful of the different types of accessibility and how we can implement this when choosing the venue. 

We can make sure the venue has multiple accessible entry and exit options, such as step-free entry, escalators, and lifts. If the venue specifies, they have a ramp entrance, let’s check that it isn’t behind the back for deliveries or refuse bins 

A group of people walking in a building

We want ALL our attendees to have the same experience and that includes how they gain access to your event. We also want to ensure that where your event or meeting is being hosted within the venue, is also step-free inside too, a small difference that can have a massive impact on your attendee’s experience. 

For those who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus, in-person events can be difficult. According to RNID, 1 in 8 people of working age have hearing loss, which may have an impact on their communication, productivity and wellbeing. Does your venue have Induction/hearing Loops? If not, maybe we can work on offering other Assisted Listening Technology or provide Captioning in the room or via a 3rd party supplier such as Wordly

  • Provide free tickets for attendee carers. We can add them as guests to the event and assign them the same agenda as what the attendee has chosen – You can find more information here
  • Is there a service animal area?
  • Are they offering Sign Language Services?
  • Do they have Induction Loop functionality?
  • Do they have check-in counters that have different heights? We want to make sure that everyone can reach the table or device to be able to check-into your event!

Make a conscious choice of accessible seating at your event and ask yourself the following:

  • Does your seating have backs to them? 
  • Are there spaces for wheelchair users to join the row without being in the middle of the aisle?
  • Are there reasonable gaps between rows for people to access seats? 
  • Exits from both sides of the row of seats

Making Sure your Virtual Event Platform is Accessible

Not all events are hosted in person, but this doesn’t mean we can’t make the event accessible for your attendees, speakers, and exhibitors! When deciding on which virtual platform you will be using for your event, it’s important to know what accessible options are available. It’s also important to understand people’s accessibility needs in advance, be sure to add accessibility needs in the registration form or pre-event survey and include Speakers and Exhibitors accessibility needs too. 

A person looking at a computer with an Attendee Hub event on the screen

Here are a few ideas!

Training your Onsite and Remote Staff on Accessibility

It’s important that your onsite and virtual staff are trained on accessibility, making sure that everyone involved have the best experience. You can work with your HR department on conducting a training with employees on a high level on accessibility or on a per event level. 

If attendees are bringing carers, think about adding a subtle indicator on the badge and train onsite staff, so they can identify the specific accessibility needs and offer additional help if needed. 

Prepare your staff on what to do if an attendee, speaker or guest may be hard of hearing and what options we have to assist, such as a specific digital device to communicate via written communication

A group of people sitting around a table having a discussion

Make sure all your staff know where all the accessible areas onsite such as disabled bathrooms, quiet zones, accessible emergency exits etc.

For virtual staff, ensure they know all of the accessible options you have adopted for your event – we find a FAQ page on verbiage shared before the event/sessions is super handy. Covering all the top asked questions such as if there will be a recording and transcript of the event, will the presentations be shared after the event, how to troubleshoot technical issues or using any add-ons you have opted to use

This doesn’t apply to your attendees alone; we should also be conscious of speaker and exhibitor accessibility needs. This can start at the very beginning of the event planning stage, do they need to have written instructions on what to expect, will there be session dry runs, Room and exhibition hall layouts.

What’s Next?

We will be releasing the next addition of this blog series on a weekly basis! Check out part 2 on pre-event thoughts for attendees here!



This post was written by Hannah Farrell. Hannah is a Lead Customer Success Advisor with 9+ years of experience in Customer Success, including 4.5 years with Cvent. Hannah is driven by her passion for making accessibility a reality, drawing from her own experiences as a carer for family members and friends, also having Accessibility needs of her own. Her understanding of the challenges faced by those with disabilities has given her a perspective on the importance of accessibility and has fueled her commitment to improving the lives of others. Whether you're looking for advice on being more accessible in your events program, or need strategic advice on your events, she can point you in the right direction.

Cvent Success

Cvent Success Team

Cvent Success blogs are authored by (real) members of the Cvent Client Success team. We share best practices, insider tips & product updates to help you achieve "Cvent Success"!

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