According to the survey by online training company AccessChamp, hoteliers are falling short when it comes to providing great customer service to disabled guests. It claimed that the industry is overlooking the £2bn stay away from home market for disabled people, as valued by VisitEngland in 2010.
The research, conducted with 276 members of Disabled Motoring UK in 2013, revealed that 60.4 percent of disabled guests found bathroom facilities in hotel rooms as just ‘ok’ or ‘poor’.
Meanwhile, 52 percent said the same about the room facilities, while 59.8 percent offered the same response about the location of their room in relation to the reception.
Arnold Fewell, report author and managing director of AccessChamp, said hotels were a long way from providing an outstanding service to this valuable market.
He explained: “Every day in the UK, 25 percent of the population deals with a disability, either as a disabled person or as a carer. Surely, in this day and age, disabled people should receive the same level of service as non-disabled people?
“That is why it is concerning to see in this research the current situation of customer service that disabled people are receiving in hotels.”
Fewell added: “Just 10 percent of hotel bedrooms are currently meeting the needs of disabled people. It is a long way from excellent but now we have a benchmark to measure against.”
The report also found that only 39.8 percent of respondents were asked for extra information when making a booking. Fewell claimed that by not asking, hotels were missing out on making simple and low-cost ways to enhance the disabled guest experience – such as taking furniture out of the room for wheelchair users.
Fewell explained that some of these issues should have been should have been tackled already under The Equality Act, while others will only cost small amounts to improve.
“I hope that the findings will help hoteliers improve their service to disabled guests further by concentrating on key issues,” he added.
More positively, 70.2 percent of respondents rated staff helpfulness as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, while 50.3 percent gave the same response in relation to the ease of the reading of marketing materials.
However, 75.2 percent of respondents said hotels should create a specific brochure or accessibility statement for disabled people.