Making sure everyone is welcome is easier said than done

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1 Making sure everyone is welcome is easier said than done 1

2 Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes. When we started working with accessibility, we had no idea how well our hotels were adapted to guests with disabilities but we know now. Our aim is for everyone to feel welcome at Scandic, whether they have a disability or not. Welcome to everyone! 2

3 You might think it s obvious that a major hotel chain should be accessible even if you ve a broken leg, have impaired hearing, use a wheelchair or for other reasons need a little extra consideration. Remarkably, that s not the case. We at Scandic have worked hard to make our hotels accessible for all. We have even employed a dedicated Accessibility Ambassador who has considered all the angles. Most of us know someone who has some kind of disability, even if we don t think about it every day. They need a hotel where they can hold meetings and stay without any problems. A hotel that makes sure all the guests can reach the coffee cups on the breakfast buffet. That can provide hearing loops. That has fitted each toilet door with an inside handle at the right height so that you can close it behind you even if you re in a wheelchair, that has a walking stick holder in the reception and alarm clocks that vibrate for those with impaired hearing. In short, a hotel chain that welcomes everyone with the same friendly smile! As a part of this work, we ve created a checklist of 110 points to ensure that we really are as accessible as we say. You can see an extract later in this brochure. We should add that all the improvements we re making in our hotels to our hotels don t just benefit guest with a disability. Of course, comforts such as height-adjustable beds, remote controls and single-grip mixer taps were originally designed to help disabled people. But that doesn t stop everyone being able to benefit from them. Welcome to Scandic! 3

4 4 Disabilities aren t always obvious.

5 Let us proudly present our Accessibility Ambassador When did you start as Scandic s Accessibility Ambassador? Autumn 2003 was the first time I came to the office with my rehab dog Ada. The aim was for Scandic to attract more guests everyone s money was equally valid. What was the first action carried out to improve accessibility? We started by hiring three wheelchairs for the head office. Then we let all the team members, over 100 of them, spend two hours in a wheelchair to see life from that perspective. We passed the wheelchairs round the office for 3 months. Being in a wheelchair is just one of many disabilities, but it is an excellent way to get people discussing the issue. Some of the questions that came up were: How on earth do I close the door of the disabled toilet? (There was no handrail on the inside of the door.) Does the mirror need to be so high up? How do I reach the coffee cups on the breakfast buffet? One person started thinking about how her mother, who has poor hearing, would be woken up by the fire alarm at a hotel. My hope is that everyone will feel like a valued guest whether they have a disability or not. Magnus Berglund, Accessibility Ambassador 5

6 How have you structured the work to really bring about change? One of the things we have done is draw up our own standard comprising 110 points, 81 of which are compulsory for all our hotels. The other points come into play for newbuilds and when renovating an existing hotel. (Some of these points appear later in the brochure.) How did you choose what was most relevant to have on the list? We listened to all our team members and to all their questions. I met numerous guests with disabilities and disability organisations, and we discussed what was most to prioritise. What reaction has there been to your work, in Sweden and abroad? In the first few months after I started at Scandic, various hotel managers got in touch to say: Finally we have someone to ask about these things! We ve also received numerous awards for our work, and many positive reactions. We ve noticed that this is a hot topic in Europe. It s not uncommon for us to be asked to give a lecture abroad, and that s hardly surprising. There are over 50 million people with a disability in Europe, which is an enormous market, especially with an ageing population. Tell us about the accessibility training that you give every employee at Scandic. We have a unique course that we ve run at all our hotels and that all team members must attend to. In it, we explain about different disabilities and about our standard. We also discuss attitudes and service. But the biggest section is about what each team member can do in their department to make it accessible for as many guests as possible. This may be anything from placing the coffee cups within the reach of a wheelchair user to understanding how a hearing loop works. We ll be continuing our work! Guide dogs, rehab dogs and service dogs are naturally welcome at Scandic. This is Ada, who works for our Accessibility Ambassador. 6

7 If you have a broken leg, we recommend our lobby! We aim to make our receptions and lobbies a pleasant experience for everyone, including those with a walking stick, crutches, a wheelchair, a walking frame or a guide dog. We have therefore fitted them with the following features: Hearing loop in reception, clearly indicated by the hearing loop symbol. The hearing loop was invented to help people with hearing aids. Seating and tables in reception so that guests can sit down. Two walking stick holders at the reception desk. A guest computer with wheelchair access. 7

8 ROOMS FOR EVERYONE WHO LIKes COMFort We want you to feel comfortable and at home when you open the door to our rooms. Here are a few extra bonuses that you ll always find in our rooms for disabled guests: Height-adjustable bed.* Telephone on the bedside table (along with a remote control). The bed is a little higher than in other rooms (at least 55 cm). There is a space of at least 80 cm beside the bed. The door width for the room and bathroom is at least 80 cm. A vibrating alarm clock and fire alarm is available on request (and clearly signed at the reception desk). Hooks at different heights, reachable from a wheelchair. * Only applies at some hotels but will be installed gradually as we renovate our hotels. Height-adjustable beds are one of the bonuses in our extra well-equipped rooms. 8

9 Our toilets are equipped with extras Toilets can be a tricky issue if you have crutches or a wheelchair. There are various little things that have to be right. That s what we noticed when we checked our own hotels to see how accessible they were. Now these points are standard in all our toilets for our disabled guests in the public areas of our hotels. Alarm. Mirror at a suitable height for wheelchair users too. Handrail on the inside of the door, under the door knob so that closing it is easy from a wheelchair when the door opens outwards. Hand towels reachable from a wheelchair. No or low threshold. Single-grip mixer tap or automatic tap. Wash basin height min 78 cm, so a wheelchair will fit under it. Naturally the hook, soap and hand towels are also easy to reach. Toilet paper holder on the armrest. The single-grip mixer tap was originally invented for people with disabilities. 9

10 RESTAURANT EXPERIENCES FOR THOse WHO WANT TO FULLY RELAX Are you allergic and concerned that there won t be anything for you in our restaurant and bar? Relax. We always have gluten- and lactose-free bread. We ve also thought of the little things that are more important than you might think, such as having the coffee cups at a height where everyone can reach them, including wheelchair users. Lactose-free bread is always an option with us. 10

11 GIVE YOURSELF A NEW STArt WITH us! Many feel a little anxious when it comes to meetings outside the office. Many more people than you might think have impaired hearing. Allergies are commonplace. If you have a broken leg or use a wheelchair, it can be difficult. We want Scandic to be the safe, convenient choice. That s why we make sure of the following: There is a hearing loop available for our meeting rooms. The doors are at least 80 cm wide, so that guests can get through with a wheelchair, crutches or a walking frame.* There is at least one meeting room without carpets.* The stage is accessible for wheelchair users.* Low thresholds.* The telephones can be reached from a wheelchair. * Only applies at some hotels. If you need anything else in the meeting rooms, just ask. We ll do our very best to help. We hope to see you soon! We have hearing loops that detect the fire alarm as standard! 11

12 To learn more about accessibility at Scandic visit scandichotels.com /specialneeds To book or find out more information: scandichotels.com scandichotels.dk scandichotels.fi scandichotels.no scandichotels.se scandichotels.com

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