The 2023 Blue Badge Access Awards for the hospitality sector and beyond are open for nominations until 18 September 2023, with the winners due to be announced at a ceremony in London on 26 October. These are awarded to the very best venues who have excelled in providing exceptional accessibility and inclusivity in the hospitality and leisure industry. With 12 different categories and 2 conceptual design awards with a £20K prize offer, this job should be easy, however…
According to the Visit Britain survey, the hospitality industry is ignoring the spending power of disabled people and their families which contributes c.£15.3 bn to tourism in England. 14.6 million disabled people live in England, and many say that the Hotel & Leisure Industry is not paying enough attention to accessibility. In fact, businesses are estimated to lose about £2 bn a month (Purple Pound) by ignoring the needs of disabled consumers. On the flip side, “research shows that businesses that are proactive and attentive to those with disabilities will gain loyal customers who will return again and again.” The Times, 30 April 2022
“It is essential that the hospitality industry understands that a ramp at the front door, and a bedroom or two on the ground-floor do not constitute ‘accessibility’ let alone stylish accessibility”. Says Robin Sheppard, Co-founder and one of the Judges of the Blue Badge Access Awards “There is progress in accessibility, but we still have a long way to go” he continues “So, whilst I can give the travel and hospitality industry a ‘could do better’ for inclusivity, we have some way to go. I am optimistic and confident that the hospitality industry will do better in the years to come.”
As a wheelchair user herself, Fiona Jarvis founder of Blue Badge Style and also a Judge says, “Mobility – or the lack of it – shouldn’t mean you can’t have style. We are looking for exceptional accessibility across hotels, restaurants, bars and other public venues worldwide, with a focus on style, thoughtful design, innovation and liberty. We are also unafraid to give a couple of awards which highlight the regular abominations that sadly continue to exist, and we encourage nominations for Ludicrous Loos, Ridiculous Ramps, Bewildering Bathrooms and Obnoxious Obstructions in restaurants, hotels, cafés and visitor attractions around the country!”
With the summer holiday season upon us the BBAA are inviting the public, tourists, and the industry to nominate their favourite venue for a Blue Badge Access Award.