Almost three in four guests believe there is not enough attention being brought to accessibility in the UK hospitality industry according to a new consumer survey.
The ‘Accessibility in Hospitality’ survey, unveiled to the public this week by Robin Sheppard, founder of the Blue Badge Access Awards and president of Bespoke Hotels, in collaboration with guest experience management experts, HGEM, found that 71 per cent of customers want more to be done to address the lack of accessibility in the industry.
The survey, which was distributed to a large database of HGEM’s mystery guests, both non-disabled and disabled between the ages of 18 to 66+, also revealed almost a third of guests (30%) would leave a venue immediately if access for disabled people was inadequate, while more than half of participants (53%) said they would not return to a venue where access was difficult.
Interestingly, it found there was a distinct split in opinion from a gender perspective, too – only 62% of male respondents suggested not enough attention is brought to accessibility; however, that number reaches 73% with female consumers.
On a more positive note, hotels were found to have a good reputation for adhering to disabled people’s needs (58%), but the results for other hospitality sectors painted a more concerning picture, with leisure scoring just 16%, restaurants 14%, pubs 7%, and quick service a shockingly low 5%.
Discussing the survey findings, Robin said: “We must concentrate on the statistics, because they tell quite a tale. The figures unveiled in this report are a stark reflection of consumers’ attitudes towards accessibility in hospitality – and the results aren’t pretty.
“More importantly, they make you realise that what is currently deemed ‘normal’ is simply not good enough. We must establish a new normal and erase years of historic insouciance on accessibility. We believe highlighting inaccessibility in statistical form is one of the first steps we can take to making the hospitality sector more inclusive, and we believe the time to innovate such change is now.”
The spending power of disabled people and their households in 2020 was estimated to be worth £274billion per year to UK businesses, and it is believed that various hospitality sectors lose out on £163million to £274million per month, by ignoring the needs of disabled people.
Robin continued: “As the co-founder of the Blue Badge Access Awards, alongside Fiona Jarvis of Blue Badge Style, we have made it our mission to advocate for inclusivity in the hospitality sector. It is crucial to make the hotel experience more joyful and inclusive for both disabled and non-disabled guests, designing and creating a place of beauty and practicality for everyone to enjoy.”
This year’s Blue Badge Access Awards will be held on 28th April at Hotel Brooklyn, one of the most inclusive hotels in the UK.
For more information on the awards and how to get involved, please visit https://www.bluebadgeaccessawards.com/the-awards.
To see the full survey findings, visit https://www.hgem.com/opinion/accessibility-in-hospitality.