Accor launches Disability Inclusion Self-Assessment Hotel Toolkit

by: Felicity Cousins | May 30, 2024

CHINA: Accor has teamed up with experts in accessibility, data and the hotel sector to launch the Disability Inclusion Self-Assessment Hotel Toolkit.

The hotel group has launched the tool with The Valuable 500, Accessibility Research Association and Colorful Earth, with the aim to help hoteliers deepen their understanding of the challenges and barriers that travellers with disabilities can face, while emphasising the importance of sharing information about a hotel’s accessibility.

The Toolkit is designed to be shared across the hospitality industry to address the wide-ranging needs of the disabled community and uses more than 250 indicators, providing hotels with a user-friendly interface for evaluating the inclusiveness of their governance, facilities and operations.

Criteria include barrier-free infrastructure, accessibility aids, governance and policies, public awareness, capacity building, information accessibility, disclosure and reporting, and authentic representation of the disabled community in communications.

Gary Rosen, CEO, Accor Greater China said at the launch of the Toolkit at the Technology Accessibility Development Conference (TADC) held by Accessibility Research Association at the Special Education College of Beijing Union University: “Hospitality is about people, and Accor is devoted to welcoming others, accepting and valuing differences, and fostering a culture of inclusion – which is why it was so important to us to participate in the launch of this Toolkit.

“Our aim is to not only support our own hotels, but to improve accessibility throughout the industry. With diversity, equity and inclusion so essential to our own success, we will do all we can to keep making the world a more inviting place for our guests and our employees.”

The Toolkit also aims to help people better understand accessibility and inclusion, with definitions, examples, and best practices and explores the evolving perceptions of disability inclusion and self-identification, as well as challenges specific to the hospitality industry.

Koko Tang, founder of Colorful Earth said: “True inclusion is not just a policy, a facility or a programme – it is a culture, an attitude, and Accor is leading the way, demonstrating its values through actions, while expressing sincere respect and understanding for everyone.

“With the Toolkit, we are encouraging hotels to take that first step of improving accessibility and enhancing disability inclusion by participating in a simple gap analysis to understand what features they may be missing and what improvements can be made. However, accessibility is not the goal or an end point – it is actually the starting point of how we shift our societal mindset toward achieving a more inclusive and sustainable society. Let’s make progress together.”

Accor joined The Valuable 500 in 2021. A survey conducted by The Valuable 500 in 2022 revealed that more than three-quarters of travellers in the USA said they do extra planning to ensure a property will be accessible for them, while a third of disabled people in China said they research a destination to ensure their needs will be met before booking a trip. 

Ryan Curtis-Johnson, chief communications officer, The Valuable 500 said: “When a hotel, restaurant, or transport provider is inaccessible, a huge portion of potential guests are shut out. The potential can be rewarding to reach a broader market, by placing disabled staff and customers at the core of the service model.

“Hotels must consider disability inclusion in every aspect of the guest experience, and it is essential to reconsider the process and procedures that are in place and be open to change. Everyone should have the right to enjoy hospitality and travel, no matter their ability.”

Examples of Accor’s initiatives include:

  • ‘Smart Room’ concepts – Guest room accessibility improvements are being introduced, with customisable features such as height-adjustable beds, floor lighting, and showers with removable walls and adjustable jets;
  • Signatory of the Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN) of the International Labor Organisation (ILO) – Accor has adopted its 10 principles and actively fosters employment of people with disabilities. As the chairman unit of GBDN China Chapter, Accor’s Chinese recruitment official account has created a category for highlighting fully-accessible job listings;
  • Employment opportunities – In China, Accor offers graduates with disabilities six-month internships for valuable job training and opportunities for long-term employment. Novotel Shanghai Atlantis, for example, has welcomed 167 trainees;
  • ‘Accor World DuoDays’ – Accor hotel teams pair up with people with disabilities, taking them along in their daily operational roles while gaining a better understanding of the frequent challenges disabilities present. In Greater China, this initiative is in partnership with beYoureyeS, a Chinese NGO, and participants are also granted a 100-day empowerment programme with Accor Talent & Culture teams providing employment skills and career development support;
  • Ongoing staff training – Accor Greater China continuously provides staff training modules on the needs of people with specific disabilities, in order to foster a mindset of accessibility and inclusion in its service culture;
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024 – Accor is an official partner, “raising awareness and promoting inclusion of people with disabilities.”

In December last year Accor partnered with China Hospitality Association for sustainable certification.

Accor partners with China Hospitality Association for sustainable certification

Image supplied by Accor