Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group are proof that inclusivity does work. They have employed deaf people to work at their hotels in South Africa, allowing everyone to have the chance to showcase their skills. Clinton Thom, Cluster General Manager of Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel and Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, said they were honoured to be able to make a difference in the lives of the deaf, giving them an equal opportunity in the working field.

For Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, diversity and inclusion are two of the core pillars of its employee value proposition. When it took over the Deaf South Africa (DeafSA) building to construct the Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, it saw a chance to uplift and employ deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

When the Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands opened, it had a deaf and hard-of-hearing staff complement of 30% — the first hotel in Africa to have back-of-house and front-of-house deaf and hard-of-hearing staff. Currently at Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, 26% of staff are deaf or hard-of-hearing, with some of the staff having been transferred to Radisson Blu Le Vendome or two of the group’s most recent South African additions, Park Inn by Radisson Polokwane and Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town with the same employment policy. Gyrieyah Slemming, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s HR Director for Africa & Indian Ocean said they were thrilled to be able to broaden our compliment of deaf staff and currently have almost 41 deaf and hard-of-hearing staff members within our South African properties.

“The Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence in Cape Town employs 12 deaf and hard-of-hearing staff while the Park Inn Polokwane has two deaf staff members who have relocated from Cape Town. We actively seeking to employ additional deaf staff in Africa’s first Radisson Red hotel, scheduled to open in Cape Town within September this year,” said Slemming.


Park Inn by Radisson Newlands has been recognised for its efforts, winning the 2015 Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Diversity & Inclusion in London.

DeafSA own 51% of the Park Inn by Radisson Newlands hotel. National Director of DeafSA Bruno Druchen it was hard to find employment for  1,6 million hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals in South Africa, but it was possible.

If deaf or hard-of-hearing staff show interest in other jobs within Carlson Rezidor, they are given the opportunity to learn the required skills.

Deaf staff are required to wear a badge that reads, “I am deaf” to help guests identify them and prevent any misunderstandings. Guests are also informed about the presence of deaf staff at check-in and are also briefed on how to interact with them.

In terms of educating hearing staff on deaf culture and what to do and not do when interacting with deaf staff, DeafSA brings in an interpreter annually or when a new hotel opens. Interpreters are also used for mandatory training and staff meetings.