People with disabilities in the hospitality industry

I walked into the Park Inn by Radisson hotel Wednesday afternoon. I hadn’t done much research on it except how far it was from the conference venue. It looked good from the outside, and a staff member outside guided me towards parking. At check-in I was given the disclosure: A third of the staff has disabilities. The gentleman behind the counted pointed to the gentleman who had greeted me at the door with a warm smile and showed me the way to the check-in reception. And I realised, that was man did his job as good as any lobby man I have ever come across, and the rest of the three days I spent there I realised how we can be close minded and make up lots of rubbish excuses for not considering people with disabilities in the work place let alone in customer service roles.

Their disabilities are related to hearing and speaking, but like they say, you lose some you gain some. The disabled men and women of that hotel can read lips, very well in fact. So all I had to do was speak looking them straight in the face and they were always able to understand me and offer the help I requested. They are fully capable and able to do their jobs and it is a beautiful example that other service industries can follow.

The hotel itself is beautifully furnished, all staff personnel were pleasant and understanding of the needs of both leisure-oriented guests and business guests. The hotel also has a strong environmental sustainability focus and I have to say they have the best climate control in the rooms I have ever experienced. A beautiful experience, well priced, and I can definitely recommend it to anyone going to Cape Town. About 15 km from the Cape Town International Airport, and close to conference centres and tourist attractions.

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