Ilunion Hotels began as a different company, with a business model based on long-term sustainability, which, in addition to financial profitability, pursues aims such as equality and solidarity, according to which people and their potential are the most important value.
The stakeholders involved are our workers, customers, suppliers, public administrations and associations related to sheltered employment.
We apply the experience of the Ilunion Business Group to the entry into the hotel sector job market by persons with disabilities, redefining the possibilities of a workplace environment where traditionally such persons had no place. This broad business experience increases the opportunities for jobs creation and demonstrates how hotels and catering can be a professional activity for people with or without disabilities. It is an innovative project through which we are demonstrating to the world, and particularly to the tourism sector, our confidence in these people, showing that they can manage a workplace of these characteristics comprehensively, that is, demonstrating that this way of working is viable.
Our search for and hiring of professionals with disabilities enables us to collaborate with SDG 10: Reduce inequality in and among countries.
Ilunion Suites Madrid is an accessible four-star hotel where customers, upon their arrival, feel that they are in a special place, where they receive attentive care and quality service. It is, however, also a workplace that offers professionals with disabilities the chance to work in the tourism sector, one of the main drivers of our economy.
It is not common to find professionals with disabilities doing work in this sector, and much less so in operative areas. In 2013, we saw the opportunity to demonstrate to the sector that this is possible and profitable, and we wanted to take it a step further. From here, the idea emerged of creating a hotel that was a Special Employment Centre which would show our confidence in people with disabilities as a group and would become a model for integrating them into the workforce. At least 70% of the staff has a disability, which means that many of these professionals are serving in positions that have not typically been filled by members of this group.
The experience was a success and we decided to replicate this model in other hotels: Ilunion Valencia 3, Ilunion Valencia 4 and, shortly, Ilunion Barcelona. These hotels are examples and showcases for workplace integration. The main goal is to offer opportunities to improve the employability of people with disabilities through employing them to do remunerated, productive jobs which make their integration in the jobs market easier. We are currently extending the system to the catering service.
One of the key elements consists of selecting the staff correctly. The success of this initiative lies in being competitive and procuring an economic benefit that makes the company sustainable over time. It means hiring professionals with disabilities who are able to perform the work they have been hired for with quality and professionalism.
Another key is having appropriate working conditions. On occasion, it will be necessary to adapt the working environment to eliminate any architectural barriers, or any others, and to incorporate the technical assistance elements needed for them to do their work.
At Ilunion Hotels, in addition to integrating people with disabilities into our workforce, we have always had foremost in our minds the accessibility of built environments, which affects our customers and our workers alike. In 2007, with the goal of providing access to tourism to the greatest number of people possible, we began a project to make all our facilities accessible, based on the UNE 170001 standard on universal accessibility. In addition to diagnosing the facilities and adapting these to enable their use by everyone, this project includes a module on training and awareness-raising.
Training is vital for our business model as it serves not only to improve customer care for our customers with disabilities but also to encourage and facilitate the integration of our workforce.
Over 70% of the workers at Ilunion Suites Madrid have a disability (26% at Ilunion Hotels). If we add to this indirect recruitment, through purchases from other Special Employment Centres, Ilunion Hoteles has a percentage of 40%.
Diversification of jobs filled by people with disabilities.
Improvement in employability, thus expanding the opportunities for social integration.
Positive impacts on the stakeholders: we generate jobs within the sheltered employment sector. Furthermore, this initiative creates value for our shareholders, customers and workers.
International recognition: “Tourism for Tomorrow Award” in the “People” category, awarded to us by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for our commitment to Universal Accessibility and for integrating people with disabilities into the workforce.
Contribution to Sustainable Development Goal 10. People with disabilities are a group that has been specifically identified in some of the SDGs, for example, improving indicators relating to their employability, equal opportunities and social integration is essential to be able to meet goal 10.
Companies in the tourism sector are great generators of jobs. Regardless of our size, we are in a privileged position to generate a positive change and help to reduce inequalities both between and inside different countries. It is time to stop and reflect, and to consider how we can contribute.