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Click on Confortel's homepage and it looks like what you'd expect from a company offering three and four star hotels in most of Spain's major cities. Free wifi, discounts if you stay for a few nights. It's only if you read 'about us' that you begin to discover what makes this chain unique in the world.
Confortel Hoteles is committed to providing the same level of access to its hotels for everyone. Universal access is a requirement throughout, which are designed so that all of their facilities are accessible to people of all abilities. This is impressive in itself, but what really sets the company apart is its approach to employment.
In Spain it is mandatory to reserve 2% of jobs for people with disabilities. Confortel Hoteles has gone considerably beyond this requirement: of the 500 people who work in its hotels, 10% have some kind of disability. And they work across all the hotel's operations, everywhere from reception, floor supervision, human resources, administration, to the purchasing department.The company has gone further still, recently creating a 'Special Employment Centre' at two of its hotels in Madrid and Valencia. At these two properties, 70% of the staff are disabled in some way. At Confortel Suites Madrid, 55% of the staff have physically disabilities, 33% sensory (i.e. visual and auditory), and 12% mental. It's a remarkable example of how inclusive is possible for a hotel to be.
For much of the travel industry, addressing accessibility still falls into one of two camps. Either it is an obligation, where there are regulations that must be complied with. Or it is at best an opportunity to reach a wider client base. Confortel Hoteles moves beyond both these positions - for them, treating disabled guests and members of staff equally is simply ordinary business practice