CPD Event – How to provide great Customer Service to People with Disabilities

Last night as Chairman for the Institute of Hospitality London I was delighted to organise together with my committee our CPD (Continuing Professional Development) event at the wonderful Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane.

The evening started with refreshments and our guests were then given a show round of the hotel, whilst the committee and those that wanted to sit in ran an Open Committee Meeting sharing the progress of the London Branch and events that are being planned later this year.

After this our guest speaker Arnold Fewell took the floor. Arnold, who is a former hotel general manager has been disabled for the last 13 years.  He is now a permanent wheelchair user, so he sees both sides of the discussion on accessibility in hotels.  Arnold writes regularly for Caterer and Hotelkeeper and was the key person behind their Ramp It Up Campaign and won the 2012 Special Catey.

Arnold Fewell


With his wonderful sense of humour Arnold shared his experiences and highlighted some of the common errors hotels are making when meeting the needs, or not as the case seems to be, of our customers with disabilities – many of which are very simple to rectify. On any good Customer Service course you will learn about the art of asking questions, and this should be no different whether you are speaking to a disabled or non disabled guest. So this to me means that either we are still discriminating which I would hope is not the case, and / or we are lacking the basic Customer Service skills we need to bring to the of attention of ourselves and our staff. From the presentation given it was evident that unfortunately it is both these areas that need to be improved.

After his informative presentation our guests spent the rest of the evening networking together experiencing the fabulous customer service skills from the staff at the Four Seasons. On behalf of the Institute of Hospitality London I would like to thank them for hosting this event.

More photos of this event can be found on the Institute of Hospitality London’s Facebook page.

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