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UK Hotels and the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

  • Published: 2009-01-04 (Revised/Updated 2016-12-20) : Robin Kettle.
  • Synopsis: Disability Discrimination Act 1995 introduced a raft of new legislation aimed at ending the discrimination that many disabled people face in accessing many hotels goods and services

Main Document

Quote: "The DRC suggests that businesses that are seen to address their issues of access through a DDA audit should be seen as attempting to meet those needs. Ignoring those needs could have a reverse effect."

Disability Discrimination laws now protects those with vision and hearing impairments, learning difficulties, speech impediments etc etc. In short the duties under the DDA includes all disabilities from wheelchair users to asthma suffers.

The Disability Discrimination Act part 3 has now been law since October 2004. The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) are receiving up to 500.000 calls of potential discrimination per year.

It is appreciated that hotels often have difficulty complying to the act, however, there are solutions to the problems.

Why act now over disabled access

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 introduced a raft of new legislation aimed at ending the discrimination that many disabled people face in accessing many hotels goods and services. Some service providers view the DDA as simply imposing extra costs and legal obligations. If you're nodding in agreement, please ask yourself whether you have looked properly at the business case for making your goods and services more accessible as well as meeting your legal obligations.

The Business Case.

It's important not to lose sight of the fact that the DDA is focused on increasing disabled access and safer egress to all services and facilities. Approximately 10 million people in the UK are classed as disabled under the DDA, that's a sixth of the UK's population.

Some disabilities are more common in the older age groups, with almost 70% of disabled adults aged over 60. Nearly 75% of the Nation's wealth is held by the over 50s who have an estimated annual income of £184bn.

The DRC suggests that businesses that are seen to address their issues of access through a DDA audit should be seen as attempting to meet those needs. Ignoring those needs could have a reverse effect.

Mind your own business.

Disability Discrimination laws now protects those with vision and hearing impairments, learning difficulties, speech impediments etc etc. In short the duties under the DDA includes all disabilities from wheelchair users to asthma suffers.

Understanding and meeting all of these needs is a very specialized area. Being able to produce a accessibility report of your services shows your intention to comply, even if you are currently unable to meet those requirements (showing you are taking the act seriously). The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) will take this into account should a case of discrimination be brought against your company or hotel.

In short, stop and think of how assisting disabled people will in turn increase your turnover. please do not wait for a disabled person to have to force you to address your access issues under the DDA.

Related Information:

  1. Hotel Industry On Right Track to Full Accessibility - Report reveals while percentage of American adults with disability staying in hotels remains steady, there has been a sharp decline in obstacles encountered during those visits - Open Doors Organization (ODO)
  2. Improved Booking Experience for Travelers with Disabilities - Hotels.com lodgings in the U.S. that offer wheelchair accessible pathways accessible showers Braille signage and telephone equipment for the deaf - Hotels.com
  3. Wheelchair Travel Tips - Travel tips which will help in planning a holiday for a wheelchair user or person with disability - J.D.


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