January 29, 2014
I stayed in a hotel last weekend and had a nightmare with a Housekeeper’s trolley. I accept that we were situated next to a laundry room and staff needed to go in and out. What I objected to was the trolley that was frequently left outside my room which meant I could not get out of my room. On our last morning we had to negotiate this impediment four times as we went downstairs for breakfast and then check out. If I had been on my own I would have had to shout for help and then hope someone heard me. This could have been so easy to avoid.
Two things were needed. Firstly, when I checked in housekeeping should have been told that there was a permanent wheelchair user staying in room 320. The second thing is that the housekeeping staff should know what they need to do to ensure a warm welcome for all disabled guests. That means training and making sure they experience life in a wheelchair. In this way they will realise that impediments on the floor can be a nightmare to negotiate if you are either in a wheelchair or have a sight impairment.
It is much worse for a blind person because they can’t see the impediment, just feel it with their white stick. They could fall over and it as it is quite possible they would hit their head.
The importance of Reception in the care of disabled people is the key to great customer service. A receptionist takes the initial information and has the opportunity to talk to the potential disabled guest. They need a well constructed script that they know and can use naturally. Then after arrival the information must go to all departments.
The kitchen needs to know someone with coeliac disease is having dinner; that a blind person is in room 247 so housekeeping and the porters can ensure the corridor floor is clear; the restaurant should realise that a wheelchair user is in 305 and has booked dinner so the right table can be kept. The list can go on and on because different disabilities have different needs but this blog has come to an end.