The search is underway to find the very best in exceptional accessibility for disabled people and to reward hotels, restaurants, leisure, and tourism venues worldwide that are getting ‘Accessibility with Style’ right. The launch of the Blue Badge Access Awards 2023 sets the gold standard for ‘Access for All’ in the hospitality industry and will take place at the brand-new Sun Street Hotel, in London EC2 on Tuesday 25 April 2023.
- There are now 14.6 million disabled people in the UK increasing with an ageing population. (Source: FRS 2020/21)
- Nearly 1 in 5 working adults have some kind of disability and the spending power of disabled people and their households is worth over £274 billion per year to UK businesses. (Source: Scope/Purple Pound)
- 45% of disabled consumers say their choice of hospitality venues were limited because of their disability or access needs (Business Disability Forum/Open Inclusion 2022)
- Accessible tourism in England is worth a £15.3 billion a year (Source: Visit Britain)
The aim of the awards is to encourage hospitality industry bosses, architects, and designers worldwide to consider ways in which they can address the needs of disabled people and to make their experience more joyful and inclusive. The Blue Badge Access Awards are the only awards that recognise exceptional accessibility for disabled people through stylish thoughtful design, innovation, and liberty in the hospitality industry.
12 categories will award the best accessibility in bars, hotels, restaurants, historic buildings, and any public venue in the hospitality sector. Nominations can be made by the public, design professionals, venue managers and owners in the hospitality business.
- NEW for this year is the Best Accessible Spa award.
- The Access Champion of the Year Award and 2 Conceptual Design Awards
- Along with the most Accessible Toilet Award 2023, the BBAA announces that the Ludicrous Loo Award is BACK! (The exception award for lack of accessibility)
The BBAA awards are run by Fiona Jarvis and Robin Sheppard united by their mission to celebrate thoughtful and stylish inclusive design. Fiona Jarvis Founder and CEO of Blue Badge Style says, “If you have gone the extra mile to make your venue accessible to everyone, and in doing so you have treated disabled guests as customers rather than ‘compliance issues’ then you are just what we are looking for”.
Co-Founder Robin Sheppard, President of Bespoke Hotels is the leader of accessibility in the hospitality industry adds, “We want to drive the industry to replace the DDA compliant rooms and re-title them ‘Liberty Rooms’. Disability is not only about wheelchair access. 9% of disabled people are wheelchair users, and 75% of disabled people have hidden impairments. We need to look after all our disabled guests. Many accessible hotel bedrooms can look more like a hospital than a hotel. This needs to change”.