Sustainability Stories: Championing Accessibility at INOUT Hostel

Accessibility in travel has come a long way, with transport and accommodation providers realising that they need to cater to travellers with extra physical, neurological and mental health needs. But many travel providers are still learning, including hostels. To hear from a hostel that’s getting accessibility right, we’re headed to Barcelona, to meet INOUT hostel.

Reaching their 20th anniversary, it’s no surprise they were an Extraordinary Inclusive HOSCARs finalist in 2021. With 90% of the hostel’s workforce made up of people with disabilities, this hostel is a shining light for not only other hostels, but business owners around the world. For this installment of Hostelworld’s Sustainability Stories, we spoke to INOUT’s Director, Izaskun Quilez Arsuaga, to learn more about how they accommodate travellers with access needs and to find out how you can get involved.

 

Meet INOUT Hostel

When you think of a trip to Barcelona you might think busy city break packed with architecture, history, and a beach. What more could you need? Well, there is actually more than meets the eye. Take a short journey outside of the lively metropolis and you’ll find the vast green landscape of Collserola Park (or Parc Natural de Collserola). Known as Barcelona’s great green lung, the park is full of hiking trails, nature, and even a 14th century castle. At more than 8,000 hectares it’s the largest metropolitan park in the world and is 22 times taller than Central Park in New York City. The park also boasts something Central Park doesn’t, a hostel!

And not just any hostel at that. INOUT hostel is the first of its kind, built from a non-profit social initiative to promote the diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities. Surrounded by the peace of the park, INOUT is a refreshing respite, with an equally refreshing outlook on the capabilities of those with extra needs.

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Offering employment to those with disabilities

Part of non-profit organisation, Icaria Social Initiatives, INOUT’s mission is to promote the social and professional inclusion of people with disabilities. Out of their 60 staff members, 55 have a disability. These team members work in roles across the hostel and restaurant, to ensure the smooth running of daily activities and to help travellers enjoy their stay.

Izaskun says that often when companies employ disabled people they’re pigeon-holed into industrial roles, but INOUT shows that not only can they excel in social work environments, but that often customers don’t even realise, with many completing their stay without knowing the staff they met had a disability. That is what inclusivity is all about! 👏

 

Making their hostel accessible

INOUT doesn’t just provide an inclusive workplace, they’ve created an inclusive and accessible space for travellers too. The hostel is tailored to meet the physical, visual and auditory needs of anyone who enters the building.

To help those with physical disabilities, and allow all guests to access their facilities, they’ve installed ramps, elevators and adapted parking. They have 100 accessible beds and adapted bathrooms to ensure all guests enjoy a comfortable stay.

For travellers with visual needs, there’s colour contrast between the ceiling, floor and doors, accessible lighting throughout and even a magnifying glass at reception. In the elevators and entrances, you’ll find braille signs and podotactile flooring. And for those with hearing difficulties, they have alternative emergency lighting for guests who might not hear emergency alarms.

 

Building an inclusive community

With inclusivity on the minds of many travellers, it’s no shock to hear that many choose to stay at INOUT because of the social element behind it. The hostel has become a meeting place for those who want to support an organisation making a positive impact and experience a fantastic stay while they’re at it. And the roaring reviews speak for themselves!

This place is amazing, an incredible initiative that we need more in the world. If you want a good time in nature, truly comfortable (bed and facilities), cheap meals, nice staff and travellers, you need to go there.”

“Probably the best hostel that I’ve ever stayed in…the aim and the goal of hostel is amazing! It is located in nature and has a swimming pool, basketball court and ping pong. Staff were amazing! Will visit again before leaving Barcelona!”

Click here to read more reviews 

INOUT are extremely proud of their team, shouting about it from the rooftops whenever they get chance. In their local community, the hostel has done what it set out to; change misconceptions about what disabled people can and cannot do and generate respect for those with extra needs. In turn, international visitors release their own unconscious bias, creating a trickle effect and opening minds around the world.

 

How travellers can get involved

We know our travellers care about supporting inclusive hostels. From a Hostelword customer survey, 50% said finding inclusive accommodation influences where they choose to stay, and 83% think hostels are extremely or very inclusive. So how can you support INOUT?

 

Stay there or book a meeting room

As part of the Icaria Social Initiatives non-profit, the money made from the hostel goes back into social projects to support those with disabilities. Just by staying there you’re supporting positive change! Did we mention they have a swimming pool? Grab my goggles!

Are you a local or just passing through for work? You can also book a meeting room or coworking space for the day.

 

Dine at the restaurant or café

With an onsite restaurant and café, swap city dining for a peaceful meal in nature after a day exploring the park. The restaurant is open to both the public and hostel goers.

 

Buy some INOUT merch

Keep a memento of your trip and contribute to a good cause, with merch like reusable bottles, cups and calendars.

 

INOUT want to encourage all hostels to take steps to become more inclusive, by putting measures in place to attract team members from diverse backgrounds and experiences, running training sessions to promote awareness around diversity and inclusion, and hiring staff with disabilities. As Izaskun puts it, their aim is for those with disabilities to be treated as equal. With an above average rating compared to their peers and reviews from travellers that rave about the team’s hospitality, they are well and truly smashing that goal!

 

🏡 To book your stay at INOUT, click here.

 

 

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About The Author

Michaella Fenton

Michaella is a freelance Content and Social Media Consultant specialising in helping travel, lifestyle and sustainability brands build communities through quality content. When she's not backpacking to new places, she's living the beach life Cornwall, hiking around the UK and skiing in the alps.

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