Hotels should perform an access audit to help people of determination

Speaking at the Great GM Debate, Direct Access head of engagement Steve Dering said it gives properties a competitive edge

Steve Dering speaks at the Great GM Debate
Steve Dering speaks at the Great GM Debate

Hotels in the Middle East need to do more to engage with people of determination, said Steve Dering, head of engagement at Direct Access.

Speaking at the Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate, Dering gave a talk on the Dubai Universal Code which aims to make hotels more accessible and with which all new hotels must comply.

Dering ran through some of the ways in which the Dubai Universal Code improves the hotel experience for disabled guests, whether it be wheelchair ramps, handrails, larger and clearer signs for people with visual impairments, or more accessible showers and baths.

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Encouraging hotels to perform an access audit which would identify ways that hotels could improve their accessibility, Dering said that rather than just something which must be adhered to for legal reasons, it's also a way to drive revenue and give hotels a competitive advantage.

Dering pointed to the accessible tourism market which consists of 1.3 billion people, rising to 2.2 billion when considering friends and family, as being one hotels cannot ignore.

Statistically, hotels that are disability-friendly have increased off-peak income, and higher repeat visitors.

He also noted that as the population continues to age, there is a strong business case for financial investment in accessibility.

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