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Kind-hearted Midlands hotel team win top award

11 Dec 2019 Brand

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A Midlands’ hotel team who won a national award for their mission to learn sign language to help better communicate with deaf guests are now helping teach other hotels across the UK.

Premier Inn’s North Midlands team, including members in Telford, Walsall and Newport were selected from teams across the UK to win a prestigious Whitbread Force for Good award for their efforts in learning sign language.

Force for Good is Whitbread’s commitment to making a meaningful difference to the customers and communities it serves and encourages teams to champion diversity and inclusion, as well as to raise funds for its charity partner, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Just one of the many initiatives this team has been doing is to learn basic hotel sign language in order to help connect with the deaf community – and now they are passing on their skills across the country.

Laura Hinson Yates, Premier Inn’s operations manager for the region, has rolled out the learning by hosting a sign language lesson for other teams and it is hoped this training will enable the hotel managers to pass on this knowledge, reaching thousands of team members.

Sign language has a very special place in Laura’s heart as her sister-in-law Jessica is profoundly deaf and uses British sign language as her first and preferred language. Additionally, Laura was inspired by other team members who are committed to diversity for their own personal reasons and together the team determined embarking on the learning was a good way to challenge cultural ‘norms’, change behaviours, and break down barriers. 

Laura explained that learning sign language has had a positive benefit not just on work – but also with her family.

She said: “At Premier Inn hospitality is at the heart of all we do and being able to communicate effectively is a critical part of this. We’ve already noticed the impact this has had on guests, for example, we’ve said ‘good morning’ to guests’ in sign language which always seems to put a smile on people’s faces. It’s great that I am now able to share my learnings with Jessica and get new ‘hints and tips’ from her for everyday signs we can use in our hotels. It’s fantastic to be more inclusive at both work and in my home life too”.

She added: “Winning this award is only the beginning and we plan to continue our efforts and do as much as we can to help others. Being a Force for Good is built into our DNA at Premier Inn so there’s really no stopping us now!”

Laura’s sister-in-law Jessica Hinson couldn’t be prouder. The 33 year-old from Lincolnshire said: “I am very impressed with Laura’s motivation and enthusiasm for learning sign language and for influencing others to do the same. It’s fantastic for Laura and her team to learn sign language as it is extremely important for the deaf community and will help reduce any communication barriers. I am extremely proud of Laura and as she is trying to break through these barriers and promote deaf awareness”. 

About Premier Inn

Premier Inn was named the UK’s top-rated hotel chain for 2018 according to Which? With over 800 hotels and more than 76,000 rooms across the UK and Ireland, Premier Inn guests are never far from a great night’s sleep at fantastic value rates. Premier Inn hotels are in more locations than any other UK hotel brand for the ease and convenience of leisure and business travellers alike.

All Premier Inn bedrooms feature en-suite bathrooms, a luxurious Hypnos® bed, a choice of pillows, TV with Freeview and free Wi-Fi. A bar and restaurant is situated either on-site or next door to each hotel, offering a wide range of food and drink including a delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast.

Across the estate, the average Trip Advisor score for Premier Inn hotels is 4.2. Premier Inn has been awarded the Best UK Family Hotel in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, Best UK Hotel Group in the Silver Travel Awards and the Business In The Community Environmental Leadership Award. In 2018 Premier Inn was also named the UK’s top-rated hotel chain for the fourth year in a row by Which?

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is the National Charity partner of Premier Inn and to date team members, guests and suppliers have reached the milestone of £10 million, which formed part of the funding towards the Premier Inn Clinical Building, officially opened by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge in January 2018.

Outside of the UK, Premier Inn’s expansion plans are focused on Germany.  Premier Inn opened its first hotel in Frankfurt in 2016 and has more than 6,000 Premier Inn bedrooms in its secured pipeline in Germany.

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