Hotel survey reveals ignorance when dealing with deaf customers
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Hotel survey reveals ignorance when dealing with deaf customers

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Hotels in the UK are failing deaf and hard of hearing guests, according to a new survey.

The main culprits are apparently poorly informed staff, lack of information and little or no understanding of customer needs.

The survey, conducted by Geemarc Telecom, covered 10 national hotel chains with properties in Birmingham.

Telephone callers taking part in the survey rang hotels to request information on deaf and hard of hearing facilities for a group booking of six people, three of whom were deaf.

A “worrying” level of ignorance was encountered when hotels were called and information requested on facilities for deaf and hard of hearing guests.

“Out of 10 calls, not one hotel was able to give the information immediately,” said Geemarc’s sales director Jacqui MacKinnon.

“Staff seemed bemused by the request for information on facilities for deaf and hard of hearing guests. Our caller was put on hold, redirected to another number, or the staff had to call back to give them the information.”

According to the survey, few, if any, staff seemed to know which products were directly suitable for people with hearing difficulties and sometimes the caller had to tell the hotel staff what they should have for deaf guests.

Only one hotel offered a full range of facilities, including pillows, a loop and television and doorbell amplifiers, but the hotel’s central booking line was unaware of the facilities, which were only discovered when the hotel was called directly.

The caller was also offered a number of wheelchair-accessible rooms, which didn’t meet their requirements. The ‘stock response’ appeared to be that, when a booking was made, that this was a requirement either deaf or hard of hearing potential guests would need.

Under the 2004 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), it is compulsory for hotels to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure access for people with disabilities.

Recent Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) figures have revealed that nine million people in the UK have some form of hearing loss. Details: www.rnid.org.uk

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Hotels in the UK are failing deaf and hard of hearing guests, according to a new survey.
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