Universal caters to traveling seniors

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

TUSTIN, Calif. - Universal Mobility's success providing rental wheelchairs and scooters to traveling seniors frequenting area hotels and attractions in southern California, including Disneyland Resort, has prompted the company to look north.
Universal Mobility plans to develop a relationship with the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau that's similar to the relationships it already has with the Anaheim/Orange County and San Diego visitors bureaus, said Wendie Mayers, vice president of marketing for Universal Medical, Universal Mobility's parent company.
Per the relationships, the visitors bureaus refer travelers with mobility needs to Universal Mobility for equipment rentals. This spring, Universal Mobility began featuring the same booking template on its Web site as the visitors bureau in Anaheim, streamlining the process of reserving hotel rooms and renting equipment.
"Traveling is all about having fun, and we make renting and using wheelchairs and scooters fun," Mayers said. "People with mobility needs or disabilities need to be treated like the rest of us are treated. That's our responsibility."
Universal Mobility has provided travelers in southern California with rental wheelchairs and scooters since 2003. Its parent company, Universal Medical, has a storefront in Tustin, Calif., and provides home medical equipment to Orange County residents.
In addition to its relationships with visitors bureaus, Universal Mobility offers a "red carpet delivery service" specifically for Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Through the service, Universal Mobility delivers wheelchairs and scooters to the resort's hotels, as well as other area hotels, allowing guests to take them to and from the hotels to theme parks and beyond.
That's key for many travelers with mobility needs or disabilities, Mayers said, because Disneyland can't allow its rental scooters to leave its compound. What's more, Disneyland usually runs out of rental scooters early each morning.
When guests leave their hotels, Universal Mobility picks up their equipment. In all, the service costs $145 for three days, $220 for five days and $275 for seven days.
With the bulk of the baby boomer generation approaching 50 years old and over--but with no intention of slowing down--Mayers expects Universal Mobility to only continue growing, she said.