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DMA West Foundation | May 25 Webinar | Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program: Customer Service Program Aimed at Supporting Accessible Travel Market
Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Program: Customer Service Program Aimed at Supporting Accessible Travel Market

Presenters: Lynn Smith, Program Director, Hidden Disabilities Sunflower - North America; Melyssa Reeves, CDME, President & CEO, Visit Vacaville; Caren Werner, CGMP, Community Partnerships Manager, Visit Ogden

Several western DMOs have established a local version of the internationally recognized Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, a program lauded for supporting travelers with various non-visible disabilities as a way for them to secure additional support they may require while traveling, shopping, or engaging in other public activities.

Developed and launched in the United Kingdom, the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is now a recognized icon that accessible travelers can utilize to discreetly be identified as having a disability. Through identification by service representatives in the hospitality industry, accessible travelers can be assured they will be given attention and support during their journey. This initiative is a simple way for a destination’s visitors and residents to self-identify they, or someone in their group, has a disability that might require a little extra help.

Wearers of the distinctive but discreet green and yellow sunflower icon indicate that they have a disability that is not visually apparent. Not all disabilities are visible – some are hidden and not immediately obvious, such as learning difficulties, mental health as well as mobility, speech, visual or hearing impairments.

DMOs that have adopted the program for their communities offer lanyards, bracelets, and business card-size sunflower cards to both residents and visitors at the DMO’s office and/or visitor center(s) and via the destination’s participating hotel properties, attractions and businesses. Hotels and other businesses undergo training about how to assist sunflower wearers.

Two DMO representatives will share how they involved their communities with the program.

May 25, 2022 09:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Speakers

Lynn Smith
Program Director @Hidden Disabilities Sunflower - North America
Lynn Smith is the Hidden Disabilities Program Director for North America. She has been involved with the program for the past two years ─ creating awareness, managing products and distribution, and helping companies and organizations implement the program. Lynn is also the CMO for The Sourcing Group, the North American partner for the Hidden Disabilities program.
Melyssa Reeves, CDME
President & CEO @Visit Vacaville
Melyssa Reeves has led Visit Vacaville since 2007 and has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Melyssa is an Executive Board Member of California Travel Association, DMA West and Destinations International. In addition, she is the current Board Chair of the DMA West Education & Research Foundation. When she is not promoting her destination, Melyssa enjoys time with her husband of one year, Craig, and their two very naughty Yorkies, Sophie and Macie.
Caren Werner, CGMP
Community Partnerships Manager @Visit Ogden
Caren Werner serves as the Community Partnerships Manager and Regional Film Specialist for Visit Ogden, which she joined in 2011. In her role, Caren oversees, builds, and maintains relationships with individuals, organizations, and partners that support Visit Ogden’s goals. Prior to joining Visit Ogden, Caren was the corporate sales manager for Wolf Creek Resort, in Eden, Utah. In her spare time, Caren enjoys working on her 115-year-old home with her husband, working in her yard, and spending as much time as possible with her 10 grandchildren. All but one grandchild lives out of state.