“Stop apologising for the accessible room, make it a five-star space that guests will love”
The hospitality industry has the size and turnover to make real change. However, it is fair to argue that the sector does not yet do enough to embrace the purple pound?
Given the spending power of the seven million people of working age who have a disability, which is reckoned to be worth around £249b to the economy, shouldn’t the industry embrace a change in mindset and ensure it provides a service and experience which is suitable for all its guests?
Only last year in 2018 it was announced that the hospitality industry is set to surpass a £100bn combined turnover. It’s an enormous amount and stresses just what power the sector possesses. The Government also announced in recent months its intention to become the most accessible tourism industry in the world. Combined, this showcases that timing is apt for change.
Within the industry and for those who provide services to the sector, the Blue Badge Access Awards (BBAA) is also helping to drive change. These awards are the result of two major design competition initiatives, coming together with the support of the charity Leonard Cheshire. The awards hold a vision where they want to inspire better design, celebrate exceptional venues and at its core, improve accessibility for all.
The team behind the awards, (including Robin Sheppard, Executive Chairman of Bespoke Hotels, pictured left) which includes hotelier’s, style experts and those passionate for the mission of the awards, truly believe in a future where everyone, no matter if they have a disability or not, are able to enjoy experiences. They are working hard to inspire architects, designers, staff and proprietors to aspire and have a desire to win one of their awards for exceptional venues that have both accessibility and style.
They envisage a future where reception team don’t feel any need to apologise for providing a guest with an accessible room and instead feel proud because they know the room is perfect for any guest. The BBAA objective is to ensure all are welcome at venues and public buildings. Able-bodied or not, everyone should feel like a first-class citizen no matter where they are visiting, and no matter what disability, sight or hearing impairment, allergy or access requirement they may have.
Its an important time in the UK when it comes to accessibility. The awards are helping to create change and the hospitality industry can play the lead role, the Government has nailed its colours to the mast and the potential is there for all to see. The future looks purple.