People with a disability don’t want to feel they are in a hospital, they want to be treated as normal
Ilunion Hotels, formerly Confortel, is a chain of 22 three and four-star properties in mainland Spain and the Balearic Islands. What makes it special is its commitment to accessibility, and not just for guests.
This was recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards this year when Ilunion took the People Award.
Beatriz Rubio, responsible for accessibility at Ilunion, explained: “If a new hotel joins our company, we check its accessibility policies and see if it complies with the law – some hotels in old buildings don’t. We bring it up to the level of the law and then add extra – wheelchairs, for example, and a fire alarm for the deaf.
“If rooms are not OK, we make them up to standard. But it’s not only the rooms, it’s also the elevators, the width of doors, the front desk.
“In Bilbao we’re opening a hotel in a 50-year-old building with no adapted rooms. So we’re making four. If a hotel is a new-build we have more. Usually in Spain a hotel has four or five rooms adapted for a wheelchair – in our Huelva hotel we have 16, and in another, 14. We have other rooms for people with visual impairment.
“Then there is staff training. That is very special in our hotels.a
“People with a disability don’t want to feel they are in a hospital, they want to be treated as normal. Our hotels are for everyone.”
Rubio added: “We specialise in visual impairment. We have braille signs in every room, special key cards, meeting rooms with braille, shampoo and shower gel [containers] in braille, and braille menus in restaurants.”
What also marks out Ilunion is its employment policy, with 13% of staff having some kind of disability, alongside 40% of those who work in the hotels and more than 70% at two properties designated as Special Employment Centres.
Rubio said: “We’re working to make it more. We want to have six centres and we aim at 60% of staff with a disability across the company in five to seven years.
“We’re very proud of the Tourism for Tomorrow award. We want to show it’s possible to be a profitable business while giving opportunities to people with disabilities. People only need an opportunity to show what they can do.”
The company sells direct and through tour operators and agents.
Source: Travel Weekly