webmasterAugust 11, 2016August 11, 2016Several years ago, I was a strict vegetarian. I attended a 5-day conference and wanted to make sure the event organizer knew that I needed meatless alternatives. When I arrived, much to my shock and dismay, they had a very limited selection of vegetarian options. One evening, my only choices were green beans and bread. Needless to say, I felt the event organizer ignored my request because it was not a priority to her, which inherently left me with an unsatisfactory conference experience. Meeting planners not only need to take care of attendees with special dietary requirements, but they also need to address the hearing and sight impaired, and disabled attendees who may come with canes and wheelchairs. Today let’s address how to make your attendees feel like their needs are met and how technology rentals can play its part in meeting those needs at events. Inclusion Factors to Consider Start with Your Registration Process It is important to understand how many of your attendees are hearing or visually impaired, have a disability or special food needs. For example, if someone has food allergies and is a vegan, you want to have nutritious and delicious offerings packed with carbs and protein. If someone is hearing or visually impaired, find out at what level of support they require and plan accordingly. Dig Deeper about Needs Determine exactly what your attendee’s need in order to make the conference experience enjoyable. In other words, if they are hearing impaired, do they need an ASL interpreter? Or can they hear things if a special microphone rental is utilized? For the visually impaired, find out what their visual abilities are and how you can assist them. For example, second screen technology may be the perfect answer to see the events on stage better. iPad rentals can fulfill this need because attendees can make the screen larger or smaller with a simple touch of the screen. Walk Through Like the Attendee If you have attendees that are wheelchair bound or have difficulty with steps, make sure the meeting space can be configured to address this need. Are the entrances large enough? The restrooms close enough? Can visually impaired attendees easily move from room to room? Is everything on one floor? Attendees Don’t Want to Be Segmented Even though they may have special needs, these attendees want to be treated like everyone else. They have a desire to learn and network, otherwise they wouldn’t be at your conference. Work hard to include them in activities and introduce them to other attendees. Summary Remember this: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20% of the U.S. population has a disability, with 10% of this segment having severe disabilities. Roughly 5% of the population are vegetarian or vegan and Approximately 4% have food allergies. If you superimpose this information into a standard conference, approximately 29% of your attendees may have special needs, but don’t necessarily want to feel special. So it is up to you to find out what they need, meet or exceed their expectations and where it makes sense use event rentals to enhance their experience. Hartford Technology Rental Can Help You Engage Your Attendees Hartford Technology Rental can help you create an effective event environment that is inclusive for all your attendees! We provide: On Time Delivery 24/7 Tech Support and Discounts on Certain Equipment Contact a Technical Sales Representative today to find out more!