The Wheelchair Basketball World Championships are being held in Germany between August 16 and 26. Scandic Hamburg Emporio is the official team hotel thanks to its successful work to promote accessibility. Now, the hotel is hosting 300 wheelchair athletes, a unique clientele.
– We are one of the only companies in Europe that can accommodate so many wheelchair guests at the same time, which is possible thanks to our extensive initiatives to make our hotels accessible to everyone. It’s a great honor to be able to take care of so many athletes, says Magnus Berglund, Accessibility Director at Scandic Hotels.
The Wheelchair Basketball World Championships is the second largest event for disabled athletes after the Paralympics. It is held every four years, and this year, 50,000 people are expected to attend the games in Hamburg.
Samuel Koch is an actor, author and former top athlete. He is an expert when it comes to traveling with a wheelchair and he is positive about Scandic’s accessibility initiatives.
– I spend more than 100 nights a year in hotels, so I have quite a bit of experience. And what Scandic offers when it comes to accessibility is truly outstanding. Scandic has thought through every detail, from arriving at the hotel and making your way through the lobby to navigating your room and the restaurant. I’ve also noticed that Scandic’s employees have been trained in accessibility and view everyone as guests, regardless of ability, and this makes me extremely happy, he says.
Accommodating 300 wheelchairs requires a certain level of organization. Much is already in place thanks to Scandic’s constant work to make its hotels accessible. But then there are certain extra things that must be in place to accommodate so many wheelchairs at the same time. For example, the hotel has added 142 extra shower stools, bathtubs have been equipped with mobility aids to make it easier to get in and out, and many of the chairs in the restaurant have been removed. The buffet has also been equipped with a height-adjustable table. In addition to these measures, the organization has requested not to have a ramp for the three steps going down to the restaurant so that athletes can train getting up and down.
– We’re impressed by Scandic’s serious commitment to accessibility and we look forward to a successful partnership as well as restful nights for our participants, says Anthony Kahlfeldt, Managing Director of the Wheelchair Basketball World Cup 2018. Scandic’s accessibility initiatives have won many prizes and are known around the world. In 2015, Scandic was named world’s best hotel chain within accessibility by the World Responsible Tourism Awards.