Focus: Campaign of the week - Leonard Cheshire hits the hotels

Georgina Lock, georgina.lock@haynet.com

Leonard Cheshire is trying to pressure the UK's hotel chains into making sure they can cater for disabled people with an intensive media relations campaign highlighting the inadequacies of current accommodation.

Research conducted by the disability charity into the UK's leading hotel brands has shown that, despite the implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act, many are still failing to provide access for disabled people.

No Room at the Inn, a report on UK hotels and accessibility, outlines how disabled people holidaying in the UK are not offered the same levels of access or service as non-disabled people.

Thirty hotels were surveyed and shortfalls were found across the board.

Only 46 per cent had adequate bathing facilities, less than a third had lifts with Braille buttons and only one had a text phone installed in a disabled room.

In response, Leonard Cheshire is launching a PR drive to increase awareness of the problems disabled people face, and is using mainstream media to get the message across.

The report's authors, Laura Burnell and Guy Parckar, along with Leonard Cheshire head of policy John Knight, will be participating in interviews across television, radio and print media.

The campaigning kicked off yesterday with an interview on Anita Anand's late-night session on Radio 5 Live, followed today by an interview on Radio 4's You and Yours.

The report's findings have also been broken down into regions, with local media being targeted. This will include interviews on 15 regional radio stations throughout the UK.

The charity aims to convince hoteliers to take notice of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which requires all providers of goods and services to make their services accessible to disabled people.

It also hopes the campaign will persuade disabled people to lobby for their rights, and help MPs and ministers to examine whether improvements need to be made in the law.

Parckar said: "If we raise awareness in all three areas, we should see an improvement on the current situation."

There are no plans for any advertising or direct marketing to run alongside the media campaign. Parckar added: "This is an important piece of news and an issue that should be addressed. We hope it will be picked up across the media."

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