InterContinental Hotels has won an award at the 39th Annual People of the Year Awards organised by RADAR, UK’s leading pan-disability rights organisation.
At the ceremony held on Monday 5 December, IHG won a new employer award; the Enhanced Accessibility Award for Providing Excellent Customer Service for Disabled People.
IHG was only one of two employers to receive an award and was recognised for its commitment to providing excellent customer service to disabled guests across the whole business.
In response to Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), introduced in October 2004, IHG implemented 13 key strategies to address the needs of disabled guests. In order to ensure success, a disability working group was set up and buy-in from all levels was secured.
Through partnerships with recognised disability consultants accessibility audits were conducted and as a result IHG allocated £12.8 million across the UK & Ireland managed estate in order to make ‘reasonable’ physical adjustments to owned and leased properties.
The work was far-reaching with the key strategies impacting on all levels of the business both hotel and corporate. As well as physical adjustments in-hotel, a major UK-wide employee training programme was implemented. ‘Confidence to Serve All’ was designed to help its employees deal more confidently with disabled guests and was delivered to 13,000 IHG & Franchisee employees in just six months. The success of the programme resulted in IHG winning a National Training Award.
In addition, Central Reservations were trained to deal more effectively with disabled customer needs and there are now specially trained agents able to handle detailed requests. IHG’s Priority Club Rewards Loyalty programme was also tailored for greater disabled accessibility, and all IHG websites were reviewed and now carry the Access for All message.
John Bamsey, Chief Operating Officer UK and Ireland, IHG said: “It is a great honour for us to be recognised as a champion for excellent customer service for disabled guests. The company has really risen to the challenges presented by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and the changes we have made have been welcomed throughout IHG. We believe in providing all our guests with excellent customer service, and are committed to ensuring that our employees have the right skills to do just that.”
Kate Nash, Chief Executive of RADAR, said, “The RADAR People of the Year Awards are now established as one of the UK’s major human rights-based events. The Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the achievements and ongoing work of people who are passionate and determined to achieve real change for disabled people.”