Hospitality industry urged to embrace inclusivity

Bespoke Hotels and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is challenging the hospitality industry to enhance its disabled spaces and embrace inclusivity of design.

The call to action has been issued by Bespoke Hotels’ chairman Robin Sheppard (pictured) to coincide with the International Day of People with Disability on December 3.

Sheppard first partnered with RIBA in 2016 to create the Bespoke Access Awards, having experienced consistently over-medicalised and ‘joyless’ disabled accommodation throughout the UK.

This latest statement was inspired by the government’s efforts to improve access to products and services, to drive equality and provide equal opportunities for disabled people.

Sheppard said: “I am immensely proud to be a public advocate for improving access and experiences in hotels so that disabled people can enjoy life to the full, without fear or frustration.

“We hope that dates in the calendar such as the International Day of People with Disability will bring these issues to the forefront of people’s minds, inspiring innovative and inclusive solutions across the hotel sector.”

Penny Mordaunt, former minister of state for disabled people, health and work, added: “We have been short-changing a huge number of consumers, and they just deserve better.

“Just because a product or service is functional, it doesn’t mean it can’t also be beautiful. Really, that’s what we all want.”

The Bespoke Access Awards will reward entrants who address guests’ experience from the front door to any room or service within a hotel; and includes the process that must be undertaken before a visitor arrives or during check out.

Prizes will be awarded for the most imaginative, innovative and potentially realisable ideas, with the overall winner receiving £20,000.