The power of the ‘purple pound’

Nearly one in every five people in the UK has a disability or impairment and over half of households have a connection to someone with a disability. Their collection spending power, the Purple Pound, is worth £249 billion to the UK economy but is it fair to argue this potential is not being realised?

The hospitality sector is renowned for its ability to relax and reward people by proving environments for people to dine, stay, laugh and enjoy, but it is harder for disabled people to enjoy a drink, meal out or overnight stay. However this is beginning to change and is being driven, in many ways by the recently renamed Blue Badge Access Awards. With the awards launching this year at the Independent Hotel Show on Wednesday 17th October, now is the time to find out why this is so important and be inspired to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience.

Improving access and providing enhanced experiences for all guests and traveller, particularly those with disabilities, should be of the utmost importance to any hospitality or retail business. There are many real (and perceived) barriers that make it harder for disabled people. It can start with effective communication, creating positive customer experiences and ensure business are disability friendly – for those with physical, learning and mental disabilities.

The Purple Pound has been called the largest untapped market in the past. It has been argued that the social model of disability holds that a person is not disabled because of their impairment but due to the physical and attitudinal barriers in society. By becoming more equal, inclusive and accessible it makes core business sense and will empower so many.

The Blue Badge Access Awards are a unique design competition which seeks original ideas to improve access and provide an enhanced experienced. With support from Her Majesty’s Government, peers in the House of Lords, a wide range of disability groups, the media and hospitality organisations, the awards attract entrants from around the world. The competition seeks to identify the best innovative ideas from the fields of architecture and interior design, product design and service design. The awards recognise venues and organisations that have both style and accessibility which make hotel experiences more joyful and inclusive.

Providing the best experience for all customers isn’t just being developed in hospitality, in retail there is a growing desire to ensure those in retail feel confident in the shopping experience. On 13 November the UK holds the first accessible shopping day, named ‘Purple Tuesday’ the aim is to make customer-facing businesses more aware of the opportunities and challenges and inspire them to make changes to improve the disabled customer experience over the long term.

The Blue Badge Access Awards launch takes place at 4pm till 5pm on Wednesday 17th October at the Independent Hotel Show, Olympia. A firm fixture in the calendar of hoteliers and industry professionals, the show is the home of innovative thoughts and products – perfect for the launch of these important awards. Contact EP here to join us at the awards launch.