With the focus of the world on the UK during the Olympics, the hospitality industry needs to show it is open to all. In the second Caterer Olympic Market Barometer, in association with ACT Clean, we find out whether operators are confident that their operation is accessible
Hospitality businesses have a real appetite for attracting the accessibility market, according to exclusive research, with 68% of respondents looking to do more appeal to people with disabilities.
Caterer's Olympics Market Barometer, in association with ACT Clean, has found that 78% of operators believe they cater sufficiently for customers with accessibility needs, while a third of businesses questioned saying they go "above and beyond".
Of the 300 businesses quizzed, 68% recognised that the accessibility market was worth investing in, particularly with the focus afforded by next year's Paralympic Games.
The research underlines the need for the Accessibility: Ramp it Up campaign, launched this week, which will provide operators with the business case for improving accessibility provision along with straightforward advice and guidance detailing how it is possible to profit.
Operators are increasingly confident that they are in a position to improve earnings during London 2012, with 44% saying they are sufficiently prepared, compared with 33% last month. Meanwhile, 69% thought the Olympic and Paralympic Games would have at least a fairly positive impact on their business, while the figure was 61% in May.
Businesses were even more positive when asked if they thought London 2012 would be a success for the hospitality industry in general. The results were 4% up on last month, with 79% saying they expected the event to be a great success.
Though some thought the legacy of the games would benefit only the South of England, many more highlighted their potential for drawing attention to all parts of the UK. "The event will put the UK to the forefront of people's minds, helping us as a preferred destination after the games," one said.
Another added: "It will be a showcase for all the fantastic talent, amenities and produce available here in the UK."
Though they are keen to improve, operators know there is more that can be done in terms of accessibility, with the majority of businesses admitting they meet the requirements of current legislation but little more. One said: "There are basic facilities in place but we plan to improve." Another pointed out: "Hospitality should be just that, catering for all as best we can."
Fortunately for those unsure of the value of investing in accessibility, we will highlight its potential to boost income in our Accessibility: Ramp it Up campaign. We will explain how simple, affordable measures can enhance your potential to profit from this lucrative market, ensuring the Olympic and Paralympic Games leave a lasting legacy for all.
DOES YOUR BUSINESS DO ENOUGH FOR GUESTS WITH ACCESSIBILITY NEEDS
● "I prefer to go along with legislation but not go out of my way to look after guests with special needs."
● "Accessibility is key to what we do."
● "We have an old hotel that doesn't comply with the Equality Act."
● "We're in an old listed building so we do what we can, but it doesn't necessarily "comply" with legislation."
● "We meet everybody's needs, no matter who you are or what you circumstances might be."
● "We have two buildings. One is new and was designed with disability access in mind. The older building has some technical compromises but staff are trained to overcome them."
● "Customers with accessibility needs are a very small percentage of our business but we cater for them without discrimination."
● "Times are hard so we can't afford to make the investment in additional facilities."
● "We're in an old building with disabled access but no disabled bedrooms as they're all on the first floor and there's no lift."