August 2023 

Nominations to find the most exceptional accessible venues in the Hospitality Industry and beyond are still open. Closing date – 18 September 2023 

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The public and Venues/Organisations can nominate themselves for a Blue Badge Access Award

The 2023 Blue Badge Access Awards for the hospitality sector and beyond are open for nominations until 18 September 2023, with the winners due to be announced at a ceremony in London at Great Scotland Yard Hotel on 26 October. Disabled people and able bodied are encouraged to attend at this the most glamorous and inclusive night of the year, tickets available on this link. These are awarded to the very best (and the worst) venues who have excelled in providing exceptional accessibility and inclusivity in the hospitality and leisure industry. With 12 different categories and 2 conceptual design awards with a £20K prize offer, this job should be easy, however… 

“The Hotel & Leisure Industry is not paying enough attention to accessibility.” 

According to the Visit Britain survey, the hospitality industry is ignoring the spending power of disabled people and their families which contributes c.£15.3 bn to tourism in England. 14.6 million disabled people live in England, and many say that the Hotel & Leisure Industry is not paying enough attention to accessibility. In fact, businesses are estimated to lose about £2 bn a month (Purple Pound) by ignoring the needs of disabled consumers. On the flip side, “research shows that businesses that are proactive and attentive to those with disabilities will gain loyal customers who will return again and again.” The Times, 30 April 2022 


“It is essential that the hospitality industry understands that a ramp at the front door, and a bedroom or two on the ground-floor do not constitute ‘accessibility’ let alone stylish accessibility”. 

Says Robin Sheppard, Co-founder and one of the Judges of the Blue Badge Access Awards “There is progress in accessibility, but we still have a long way to go” he continues “So, whilst I can give the travel and hospitality industry a ‘could do better’ for inclusivity, we have some way to go. I am optimistic and confident that the hospitality industry will do better in the years to come.” 

The Ludicrous Loo Award and Ridiculous Ramps – New for 2023 

Fiona Jarvis founder of Blue Badge Style and also a Judge says, “Mobility – or the lack of it – shouldn’t mean you can’t have style. We are looking for exceptional accessibility across hotels, restaurants, bars and other public venues worldwide, with a focus on style, thoughtful design, innovation and liberty. We are also unafraid to give a couple of awards which highlight the regular abominations that sadly continue to exist, and we encourage nominations for Ludicrous Loos, Ridiculous Ramps, Bewildering Bathrooms and Obnoxious Obstructions in restaurants, hotels, cafés and visitor attractions around the country!” 

BBAA are inviting the public, tourists, and the industry to nominate their favourite venue for a Blue Badge Access Award


Sophie Morgan, TV presenter, producer, travel writer, said: “For me, the most pressing thing is the lack of information. There needs to be more access to information for disabled customers, with clear descriptions with photos or, better still, videos (captioned) as this would enable us to assess access for ourselves and make more informed decisions before we travel.” 

Paralympic gold medallist, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson 

“As I have travelled the world, I have had experience of how poor design standards in some hotels can affect how you feel – not only about staying but also about the whole experience. The Awards are a chance to let the imagination run free and to conceive how a more inclusive design experience can help not just disabled people but every guest. The industry needs to do better but it can never just be about technical standards. Great architecture is about spaces that make you feel better, and which make you want to return.” 

Fats Timbo, creator, comedian, author commented: “My biggest fears when it comes to travelling involve accessibility issues. I worry about not being able to reach certain items in hotel rooms, bathrooms, or restaurants.” Of much concern to a wheelchair user is the care/handling of a wheelchair when travelling. 

If you are interested in nominating &/or attending our Awards event at the Great Scotland Yard Hotel, London on Thursday 26th October or require further information please contact us.

The Awards 

• Best Bar – sponsor ANON Drinks 

• Best Restaurant – sponsor Conran and Partners 

• Best Boutique Hotel – sponsor Bespoke Hotels 

• Best Luxury Hotel – sponsor HEWI 

• Best Venue in a Listed/Historic Building – supported by Historic England 

• Best Spa – sponsor Guarantee Laundries 

• Best Accessible Bathroom/Toilet – sponsor Blue Badge Style 

• Above & Beyond – sponsored by The Institute of Hospitality 

• Access Champion of the Year – supported by DFN Charitable Foundation 

• International Award: BBAA for Best International Venue in partnership with Sleeper & AHEAD Awards

Two Conceptual Design Awards: with a £20,000 prize fund. The Celia Thomas Award for Conceptual Design for Disabled Guests & The Microsoft Award for Inclusive Guest Innovation Sponsored by Blukite.

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