Dissertation on Hospitality Industry and Inclusive Design!

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Linda Hanna has posted excerpts from here study of the accessibility of London conference hotels at Lin's Accessibility Research Page. The interviews listed were done in 1995. A follow-on study would be instructive.

Here is a quote from the site describing the purpose of the project:

AIMS OF THE DISSERTATION


This dissertation aims to examine whether London's conference hotels are meeting the needs of disabled people and whether there is a market opportunity for them to provide fully accessible conference facilities. To this end the research question "Is There A Market Opportunity Within London's Hotels To Provide Conference Facilities Which Are Accessible To People With Disabilities?" is expected to provide:

  • an insight into the perceived size of the market requiring accessible conference facilities
  • an understanding of the conferencing needs of disabled people
    a determination of whether these needs are currently being met by London's hotels
  • identification of gaps
  • an assessment of current views on the provision of facilities for this group, and disabled people's perceptions of whether the facilities offered by London's hotels meet their needs

    This dissertation then attempts to bring together information from disparate sources to show the size of the market that would benefit from accessible conference hotels, as well as to show whether this market is a viable target for conference hotels.

    Throughout this report the terms access/accessibility will be used to describe facilities, parts of facilities and programmes in which individuals with disabilities can participate, use and enter. This includes, not only wheelchair users, but also people who have visual, cognitive or hearing disabilities.

    There is a preponderance of evidence showing that the disabled population is being integrated into all areas of society and, with changing demographics, disabled and older workers are being employed in increasing numbers. Based on this fact alone, these market segments are financially able to pay for themselves to attend conferences. Additionally, disabled organisations hold a number of conferences which are generally aimed at disabled delegates.

    At the moment anecdotal evidence suggests that London's hotels are generally not providing accessible facilities for a growing market which appears to be viable. This lack of provision can be attributed to what is explained by Michael Olsen, Professor of Strategic Management at Virginia Polytechnic and chairman of the International Hotel Association as being a lack of vision and short-sightedness on the part of hotel operators and managers. He said that they operate in a narrow business environment - in terms of demand curve, customer profiling and market research - but fail to identify and track global trends that lead to business opportunities and threats.

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