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1. How did ODO operationalize the definition of an adult with a disability? What

arguments could you make that the definition was too inclusive or too narrow?

2. Analyze the research design’s various components. Identify any potential problems

and explain the ramifications of these design issues. Identify potential strengths of

the design.

3. What is a hybrid (dual-modality) methodology? What are the pros and cons of the

hybrid methodology used in this study?

4. Francie Turk had no prior experience with researching Americans with disabilities.

Assume you have similar background; what would you have done in the exploratory

phase of this project to become familiar with the frustrations and hurdles that adults

with disabilities face when traveling? Compare your research process with what

ODO did. What could ODO have gained from incorporating your methods?

5. Brainstorm lists of potential hotel, restaurant, and rental car accommodations to be

evaluated for adults with disabilities and create your own paired-comparison question.

During a phone interview, how quickly could you cover this question? What are the

advantages and disadvantages to using this measurement scale in the phone survey

in comparison to using it in the online survey?

6. What are the management, research, and investigative questions driving the next

Adults with Disabilities: Travel and Hospitality Study?

Business Research Methods, 14e/Schindler



Eric Lipp started the Open Doors Organization (ODO) to help travelers with disabilities. In
order to get the attention of the travel and hospitality industries, and to effect changes
desired by people with disabilities, ODO undertook a major research project to estimate the
expenditures of persons with disabilities and the accommodations that would be necessary
to get them to travel more. Harris Interactive was chosen to field the multimethod survey.
This case describes the methodology and the effects of the first round of a multiphase
study. www.opendoorsnfp.org


>The Scenario
In the last decade, companies have expended training dollars to address numerous social
issues, including sexual harassment and diversity. In the hospitality industry, firms have been
less than enthusiastic about allocating budgets for training and other initiatives designed to
make adults with disabilities feel comfortable or welcomed. Providing the incentive for airlines,
hotels, cruise lines, and restaurants to take notice of this underappreciated and often invisible
market segment was one of the motivations behind the Adults with Disabilities: Travel and
Hospitality Study1 funded and coordinated by Open Doors Organization (ODO),2 a disability
access advocacy organization.

Eric Lipp, executive director of ODO, shares that the population of adults with disabilities
is growing. “Assuming incident rates by age remain as they are now3 , by 2030 nearly 24
percent of the total U.S. population will have a disability (and more than 15 percent will be
severely disabled).”4 Other studies contribute to our understanding of increasing disability
incidence as age of a population increases. As the U.S. population ages, more seniors are likely
to develop disabilities that limit or restrict movement or pose travel hurdles. Stroke caused by
cerebrovascular disease is the leading cause of disability among adults. Incidence of stroke in
the United States is estimated at 700,000 new cases per year.5

Little research had been done by companies on the disability travel market segment before
the ODO study. “We believe that fear [of the sensitivity of the issue],” explains Lipp, “keeps
companies from exploring the opportunities. But to get them to hear the opportunity, we’d have
to show them the numbers.” Francie Turk, volunteer study consultant and principal with
Consumer Connections, Inc., concludes, “The travel industry was interested, but they thought
it was politically incorrect to ask. But people, especially those who feel they haven’t been
heard, appreciate being asked for their ideas.” 6

“We wanted to provide evidence that it was a good financial investment to market to
adults with disabilities,” explains Lipp. “Only if companies understand the financial implications
will they invest in disability initiatives.

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