Magnus Berglund, Disability Ambassador at Scandic Hotels, a chain of over 230 hotels in the Nordic and Central European regions
Pantou: Magnus, you have published many of the Scandic Hotels on the Pantou Directory already. Why did you decide to do that?
MB: I think it was really good to start it up this Directory. The only reason we do it is because ENAT is standing behind it and we think that is important to support the efforts ENAT is making to publish reliable information about accessible venues. For the long-term it is important that all hotel websites should have accessibility information, as we do at Scandic. And in the short term, providing this information about accessibility is very important to guide people to the suppliers who pay attention to access issues. Pantou is a really good tool for this purpose.
Pantou: One of your initiatives at Scandic was to put your Accessibility Training Course online. What kind of responses have you got from the hotel industry?
We made our Accessibility Training Course, firstly, for our 13,000 team members at Scandic and all of them must follow it. We have received international awards for the course, which we are very proud of. Generally from the tourism industry I have really good feedback. It is being used not only by hotels but also by airports, train companies and others in the hospitality and travel sector. In fact we only hear positive things and even get messages from Brazil and other places where they are using it. This is very satisfying as it shows that people in the industry understand and appreciate the value of training on disability awareness.
Pantou: At Scandic you have succeeded in meeting many targets for providing better access. Would you say you have reached most of them now or is there still a way to go?
MB: There is always a way to go! We are never going to be done, as we always have new staff and new hotels. But, also, we do not do this because we have to reach the objectives that are set by the law. We see accessibility as being much more about doing what is important for our guests. The customers are also changing: we see that they are travelling much more and there are more people who have a disability and are getting older. Also they want to do more things when they stay with us and so it is important that we can also provide them with information about what they can do locally in accessible venues. Guests are eager to do more and we need to keep in touch with them and try to deliver what they expect from us.