From education to employment

Businesses that fail to cater for customers with disabilities will lose out on Olympic revenue, says People 1st

People 1st, the sector skills council for the hospitality, leisure, tourism and travel (HLTT) industries, is warning businesses not to lose sight of serving those with disabilities.

HLTT, along with visitEngland, is introducing the WorldHost training programme to raise the standard and delivery of customer service training in the UK.

The training programme will train 200,000 hospitality and tourism staff ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Programme will include additional learning modules on serving customers with disabilities and will also cover topics such as knowing the right language to use and being aware of feelings, misconceptions and biases.

Brian Wisdom, CEO of People 1st, said: “The HLTT sector is one of the UK’s largest employers and the ‘visitor economy’ contributes over 8% of GDP.

“Businesses will be short sighted if they don’t harness the power of the Paralympic Games and ensure their service is accessible and disability-friendly.”

More than ten million people are classified as having a disability in the UK, equivalent to 20 per cent of businesses’ customer base and over a year this market is worth £80 billion.

Mr Wisdom added: “If we reach our target of 200,000 it will make a real difference to the experience people have as well as the revenue generated.”

Statistics reveal that 66 per cent customers choose businesses renowned for good customer service and 83 per cent have taken their business to a more accessible competitor.

WorldHost has already been used successfully at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where it was used to train 39,000 volunteers and tourism staff earlier this year.

The organisation has the backing of the Institute of Directors and leading businesses including McDonald’s, who will be embedding the WorldHost customer service training in their employee development programme, and Flybe.

Aastha Gill

Related Articles