Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

Comprehensive hotel accessibility strategy

The Scandic Hotels Group, the largest Nordic hotel operator with a network of 230 hotels in seven countries, has developed a comprehensive approach to accessibility in their hotels. The strategy includes training courses for all hotel staff, a dedicated Accessibility Director, and a 135-point checklist of accessibility features.

“What makes me most proud is when guests tell us that when they stay at Scandic, they’re treated as hotel guests, not as people with disabilities.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Comprehensive hotel accessibility strategy
Organisation:Scandic Hotels Group
of Implementation
Nordic countries


  • Some 15,000 staff have been trained in accessibility.
  • A 135-point accessibility checklist has been established.


For most persons with disabilities it is difficult to enjoy the comfort of a hotel stay independently due to physical barriers, staff members who are not knowledgeable on disability issues, and a lack of accessibility features in rooms and public areas.


Scandic is a hotel chain with headquarters in Sweden, operating primarily in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. For more than a decade, Scandic has focussed on making its hotels more accessible for persons with disabilities.
The reception desk made accessible for people with disabilities.In 2003 the group appointed a dedicated Accessibility Director, and since then the hotel chain has implemented a wide-ranging strategy to make its facilities more accessible. Scandic was the first hotel chain in the world to offer a comprehensive interactive training course on accessibility for all 15,000 of its employees. The course includes instructional videos and tips, such as how to treat guests with hearing impairments, how to prepare and serve food for persons with visual impairments, and how to provide service for persons with mobility problems.
Much of the work on improving accessibility within the hotels is based on Scandic’s “Accessibility Standard” – a 135-point checklist, which was drawn up by following the route taken by guests from the car park and through the hotel, and with input from guests, disability organizations, and hotel staff. The list covers such features as the maximum height of beds, shower heads to be fitted to their lowest level, and hearing loops and cane holders at reception areas. Ninety of the 135 points are compulsory for all Scandic hotels, and all 135 points are applied when renovating or building new facilities.


The accessibility standards and adaptations have been successfully replicated across Scandic’s hotel chain, both within the four Nordic countries and beyond in Belgium, Germany, and Poland. In 2016, Scandic opened two new hotels: The Scandic Continental in Sweden and the Scandic Flesland in Norway, which are now the most accessible hotels in the company’s portfolio.
The accessibility strategy is funded as part of the company’s commercial model, based on income from the hotels. For new buildings or refurbishments, the accessibility features are included within the build costs as part of the design.
The bathroom made accessible for people with disabilities.

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