Joe Jamison wonders why businesses are missing out on a significant portion of the consumer market. The 2019 University of Virginia graduate grew up vicariously experiencing the unnecessary difficulties faced by those with mobility issues. Joe’s father, the inspiration of VisitAble, has been in a wheelchair for all of Joe’s life. When the two would go up to the podium at a restaurant the host would only talk to Joe and barely acknowledge his father, the one actually paying. For Father’s Day this past weekend, Joe had to call a winery to inquire about their accessibility to check if his father would be able to get around; a mandatory task to go anywhere. Oh, and you better hope the employee who picks up the phone understands what you’re asking, let alone knows the answers.
Luckily, these calls will soon be history thanks to VisitAble, a ‘Yelp’ for mobility (and eventually accessibility). The interactive platform provides accessibility ratings, photos, and reviews on businesses in the area. VisitAble is a handy resource full of detailed and useful information for those with disabilities. Even instructions about unknown pathways and ramps to use are available on the database.
In addition to VisitAble’s platform, the venture offers certifications and disability etiquette training to businesses. The current ADA compliant standard carries many loopholes such as historical buildings not having to make alterations and the requirement of businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations.” Joe is providing a way for businesses to become more accessible and promote this new status. VisitAble’s training starts with the attitude around serving those with mobility issues, and the platform will be a major influence in calling attention to the lack of accessibility of many establishments.
VisitAble’s certification process involves an accessibility test and sensitivity training. The accessibility test includes a secret shopper who gives store specific feedback which is then shared and reviewed during the training session. The training provided will allow businesses to hone in on where they need to improve, and there is always room for improvement.
“No business is 100% accessible.” – Joe Jamison, Founder
Joe intends to shift society’s perception of mobility and create a more accessible world through VisitAble’s services. There is no reason to treat one customer different from the next.
Hyatt Place Charlottesville is VisitAble certified
Through Joe’s certification and training, businesses will stand out on VisitAble, attract more customers, provide a better customer experience, and naturally experience financial gain. On the other side, consumers with disabilities now have a detailed database to review the accessibility of establishments and can be confident in where they choose to go. VisitAble gives a win-win for both consumers with disabilities and businesses; and it’s only going to get better.
The VisitAble platform is increasingly becoming more interactive. In the future, it will include a communication component between businesses and consumers. Additionally, the certification and training services will incorporate more solutions and make it easy for businesses to act on the improvements necessary for accessibility.
As of now VisitAble is focused on Charlottesville, but Joe hopes the whole country will soon be VisitAble.
Click here to see VisitAble’s website