STAR (the Society of Ticketing Agents and Retailers) has announced the publication of the first ever guide on accessible ticketing for the UK industry.

The “Best Practice Guide – Making Ticket Sales Accessible For Disabled Customers” was specially commissioned by STAR and written by Nimbus Disability Consultancy with contributions from Attitude is Everything.

The guide has been created to better serve Deaf and disabled customers, highlighting both legal and operational considerations around ticketing.

Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive of STAR, said: “This guide’s purpose is simple. There needs to be better equal access to online ticketing and organisations need to be considering how they do it, not whether they do it. STAR had recently run a number of workshops to help increase awareness of this issue. We know that improvements are being made and there are certainly ticket agents and venues that are currently working towards implementing online booking facilities for disabled people. We look forward to hearing more on these developments later in the year, but there is still much work to be done.”

Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work, said: “We must do all that we can to offer disabled people a real choice in how and where they spend their time and money. I wholeheartedly welcome the publication of this guide to support ticketing retailers in becoming as accessible as possible, and hope that the whole industry will take the guidance on board.”

In 2014, the charity Attitude is Everything published its State of Access report which found that 83% of disabled gig-goers surveyed had been put off buying tickets due to in inaccessible booking systems. 88% had felt discriminated against during the ticket-buying process and 47% had considered legal action as a result.

The Department of Work and Pensions show that UK households with a disabled person have a combined income of £249 billion after housing costs.

By not offering complete online booking options to Deaf and disabled customers, the report demonstrated how the UK music industry was potentially losing out on £66m in annual revenue, or 2.5 million ticket sales.

Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude is Everything, said: “Facilitating ticket sales to the growing demographic that is the deaf and disabled cultural audience should be high priority for any venue, festival or ticket seller. We believe that it’s possible to improve current systems in order to provide a fair and equal service to both disabled and not-disabled music fans. This guide is a great step towards this goal.”

The Guide examines and explains all the key elements regarding accessibility for Deaf and disabled customers when purchasing tickets for live music events online, over the phone or in person at the box office.

It explains the legal responsibilities of ticket sellers and venues as laid out in the 2010 Equality Act, whilst also providing guidance from the 2016 Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The guide continues by examining how best to handle the potentially sensitive issues around the role of Essential Companions, explains who and what they are, and the various accepted means of evidencing disability.

This STAR Best Practice Guide has been made possible through funding from the Ambassador Theatre Group and JM Marketing, operators of Securemybooking.com.

To read the full Guide online click HERE.