Pleasure for all! How hospitable are leisure companies …?

The Netherlands has 2 million people with disabilities. What is the leisure sector doing to also give a warm welcome to these guests?

How hospital are we…?

Apart from the necessary physical and technical adaptations, ‘hospitality’ in parks is quite often lacking. For example, Gea, who is in a wheelchair, indicated that it is mainly about the social skills of leisure staff: ‘You don’t need an instruction maual for that. It’s mainly about empathy and hospitality. It’s not that complicated at all, it’s much more general than many people think’, says Gea. ‘It’s about listening carefully and not immediately doing something for or taking over from someone with a disability. But it is also important that leisure companies use the right language and pictures. People don’t want to be labelled disabled! Communication and information is crucial; realistic images and no stigmatising language.

How trained are we …?

In the recently released film ‘Anders Bekeken’ (, the main theme is that people with disabilities often feel humiliated by how they are treated. Intentionally and unintentionally. For example, Eveline told me that she really doesn’t want to wear a coloured wristband (indicating her type of disability) in an amusement park; ‘I’m really not going to do that. I find that so stigmatising. What we have in common as people with disabilities is that we are all human.’ In other words, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach even for people with disabilities! Basically, even with this target group it is about really listening to your customers.

A park director told me that his employees receive no training at all regarding the social skills needed to deal with people with disabilities. A real shortcoming, he thought. A recent European survey also showed this. So leisure companies if you want to remain future-proof, seize this opportunity; invest in your employees and in guests with special wishes and needs. The market potential is huge!

I make leisure inclusive

Would you like to train your employees in dealing with guests with disabilities? Joint Projects can arrange that. Or do you want to identify the wishes and needs of guests with special needs? Joint Projects can work with a group of people with disabilities in your park to create a customer journey and  a ‘persona’ so you know what is important to them! Contact: Karin Stiksma: [email protected], +31(0)6 19057019.



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