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Throwing £15000+ down the drain…

  • Angela May

How is your boss, your board going to react to the wasting of at least £15,000(1)?

cp roomIf your venue has installed a Changing Places toilet, but not promoted it, that is in effect what has happened.

An inspired marketing professional once said to me that the most expensive marketing tool is the one that is not used. But how can people use a facility if they do not know it exists?

It matters. Let’s put it into perspective. Figures indicate there are 600,000 vegans in the UK. If you provide food at your venue, do you offer a vegan option? Do you tell people i.e. put it on your menu specifically marked as such?

There are 13million disabled people- 20% of the UK population- at least 10%(2) of whom need a Changing Places toilet. If you are one of the 1300 or so venues in Britain that has a Changing Places, do you tell people?

I reiterate, how can people go somewhere, use a facility if they do not know it exists?

Many people who need a Changing Places will research a venue before they go, to find out if it can accommodate them. Chances are too if they are planning a trip, to meet friends for a drink, a meal- normal, everyday things- they will be accompanied. If you were planning those activities, would you go somewhere that did not have a suitable WC?

Of course you wouldn’t. Nor would the person who needs a Changing Places. And if they don’t come, nor do their family, friends. So it’s not just one lost potential customer, but potentially at least twice that figure. Maybe many more.

Making people aware of the facilities you offer can therefore make a big contribution towards profitability (and thus job security).

It isn’t hard to make people aware. Contact the Changing Places consortium and register your facility with them: their map if often the first resource people check.

Signpost the Changing Places around the site. Put a sign on the door. Make reference to it in customer announcements, whether via a PA system on site and/or in other communication tools- emails, social media posts. If you have external promotional material- advertising frames, hoardings, include it on them too.

Highlight it on the company website. Lots of companies have ‘accessibility’ as a tab on their company pages, but often it refers to large print, web tools. Accessibility also means their ability to use your physical presence- your location, venue, site.

And brief anyone who answers the phone to customers about it. Many disabled people will phone ahead to check facilities: just a simple bullet pointed sheet by the phone would help.

It isn’t hard, it just needs someone to understand and act.

(1) Typical cost of installing a Changing Places toilet assuming all building services etc available
(2) Potential users of a wheelchair-accessible toilet with space, bench and hoist aka a Changing Places include:
- 1.5m wheelchair users
- 6.5 million people who have either bladder or bowel incontinence
-1.5million people with a learning disability
- 1.2million people living with stroke
- 62,000 amputees
- 30,000 people with cerebral palsy
- 500,000 people with acquired brain injuries
- 100,000 people with multiple sclerosis
- 70,000 people with muscular dystrophies
- 5000 people with motor neurone disease
- 8,000 people with spina bifida
- 40,000 people with spinal injuries
- 120,000 people with a stoma
- 3.8million adults morbidly obese
- 8.7million people with osteoarthritis
- 400,000 people with rheumatoid arthritis

Closomat Limited, Building 1, Brooklands Place, Brooklands Road, Sale Cheshire, M33 3SD