ISOBAR, Gurgaon / HOTEL RAMADA / 2018
There are 7 million visually-impaired people in India, out of which, thousands visit the holy shrine Ajmer Shareef, during the annual Urs Mubarak festival in the city of Ajmer.
Even with the lack of visually-impaired-friendly hotel accommodations and discomfort that follows, their unwavering faith keeps bringing them back every year. Hotel Ramada, Ajmer, sensed this void as a new opportunity and wanted to cater to this segment of their consumers.
Visually-impaired people are known to have immense self-respect and pride, hence, Hotel Ramada had to come up with a solution that would enable them to be self-reliant yet provide a comfortable experience.
The solution came in the form of a unique upgrade – the Blind Faith Upgrade. Initiating an accessibility movement in India, this Upgrade could transform any room into a visually-impaired-friendly room, without making any infrastructural changes.
The Blind Faith Upgrade is an offering by Hotel Ramada, Ajmer that consists of an easy-to-assemble kit to transform any hotel room into a visually-impaired-friendly room. While ensuring convenient accessibility between the hotel premise and the holy shrine, the Upgrade Kit made the guests feel at ease and self-dependent. This kit comprised of:
Reusable tactile-paving tiles to help orientate the guests from the hotel and its surroundings to the location of shrine.
Braille literature with an audio-assist pen that uses Optical Identification to convert written language into audio.
Braille-enabled labels which convert any phone into a braille-enabled phone.
To spread the word about this new kind of Upgrade, a web film with testimonials of visually-impaired guests at Ramada was launched across various digital platforms. Directly targeting the visually-impaired audience was another task, for which, audio bytes were created and propagated through closed groups on WhatsApp, IM and social media.
In the mission to ensure accessible tourism for all, Hotel Ramada has made the Blind Faith Upgrade kit available for purchase on www.blindfaithupgrade.com, for the entire hotel industry. Ramada has also committed to offer this Upgrade across its 29 other hotels in India.
An innovative offering such as the Blind Faith Upgrade is expected to disrupt the hospitality landscape by opening up new opportunities, and inviting a new set of tourists. As the Upgrade does not require any infrastructural changes, it can be easily adapted in any hotel across the globe.
Within a month of its launch, the campaign reached 3.4 million unique users, garnering earned media worth INR 6.2 million. It also led to a 22% increase in search for Hotel Ramada. All this with zero media spends.
The Blind Faith Upgrade video also received over 1.6 million video views, and website visits up to 100,000 users. Till date, 1100 enquiries have been received, including from countries like Vietnam, Portugal, and Brazil - potentially benefitting hundreds of thousands of visually-impaired tourists per year.
India has the 2nd largest visually-impaired population in the world. However, there is still a dearth of visually-impaired-friendly hotel accommodation in the country. Hotel Ramada sensed this gap in the tourism industry and created the Blind Faith Upgrade for its vision-impaired guests. With absolutely zero infrastructural changes required at the hotel property, the Upgrade allows any hotel to convert any of its rooms into a visually-impaired-friendly room. One-of-a-kind solution, this Upgrade ensured zero dependency and a convenient stay for the hotel’s visually-impaired guests. By making the kit available online for purchase, Hotel Ramada has initiated a universal accessibility movement.
The Urs Mubarak festival is an annual event that takes place in the city of Ajmer, Rajasthan in the month of April. Every year, the festival witnesses a huge population of visually-challenged pilgrims – who come hoping for a miracle that would bless them with sight. This occasion became a fitting platform for Hotel Ramada to introduce its new offering, the Blind Faith Upgrade, and so, the hotel launched it on 27th April, 2017.
Despite numerous technological advancements in the tourism industry, not much has been done towards accessible tourism for the visually-impaired population, especially in India. Even if available, these facilities are either geographically restricted or expensive to implement.
During the annual Urs Mubarak festival, thousands of visually-impaired pilgrims visit the holy shrine Ajmer Shareef in Ajmer, with the hope that they would be blessed with sight. In spite of accommodation discomfort, these patrons come every year, with an unwavering faith.
Situated in proximity to the shrine, Hotel Ramada recognised these guests’ discomfort as there are no visually-impaired-friendly hotel accommodations in the city. The hotel wanted to come up with a way to cater to this segment of their consumers. However, they could not carry out any infrastructural changes at the hotel property. There was a need for a solution that would be economical and could be easily made available for the consumers.
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