Disabled accommodation versus accessible accommodation – It’s all in the language.
Language is a funny thing isn’t it. It evolves over time and some things we said as a matter of course ten or twenty years ago we wouldn’t dream of saying now. It’s called political correctness – or PC – and in most cases it has its place. But alas it can also go completely mad. Think about Enid Blyton for example. A revered children’s author whose books were read by kids all around the world. Then in came the PC stick and all of a sudden poor old Noddy and Big Ears are not so proper anymore. Let’s not even go down the Famous Five path and what we should make of George!
What on earth has this got to do with disable accommodation I hear you ask? Well, it’s an area that I think we need to be paying attention to, not only from a political correctness view, but simple logic.
Commonly the terms used are disabled accommodation, disabled car parking, disabled bathrooms and even disabled tourism.
If something is disabled, it’s turned off, it just doesn’t work anymore. Put the wrong passcode into your iPad too many times and you’ll find out what that looks like. You know the annoying popups that suddenly appear while you’re in the middle of reading a fascinating blog post? You can disable them in your browser, and if you do that they won’t appear anymore. Why? Because they’ve been disabled; they are disabled popups.
So please people, let’s have a conscious effort to move towards calling disabled accommodation what it actually is – accessible accommodation. Accessible carparks, accessible bathrooms, accessible buildings, accessible tourism. And wheelchair accommodation? Well, from a literal point of view, that’s just downright nonsensical.
And while I’m at it, people have disabilities – please don’t refer to them as disabled people – please put the person first. This is particularly important for people working in the hospitality industry. Keeping this point front of mind will help them deliver the highest level of service to all their guests.
We cover the topic of etiquette and language fairly extensively in our online training program – you can find out more about that on the Training page.