Beatriz Rubio del Campo is responsible for accessibility at Ilunion Hotels. Her eyesight is different from mine or yours, but that didn’t hold her back – she wanted to work in tourism; and she fulfilled her dreams. “I consider myself to be an ordinary woman. I like living and enjoying the little things in life and giving the best of myself in my relationships with others in all areas of life,” says Beatriz. She is a strong person and the word that particularly suits her, is resilient. Things weren’t always easy when she was a child, she admits. Many times during her childhood, she felt that she had to gain a place in the world. “When I look back nowadays, I feel proud of all the good things I have collected on this journey,” she stresses. Now she lives her dreams as Head of Accessibility at the Spanish hotel chain.
What major events defined your personal and career path?
I was raised like any other child and I think it made a difference for me that at home I was brought up just like my brothers, without any special treatment, neither positive nor negative.
I studied tourism because I really like people and languages. I went to study abroad for a few months as my first independent experience. When I finished my studies, the search for my first stable job made me face my first great challenge, that of self-confidence. My dream was to work with a company in the tourism sector and I put in the effort to make it a reality.
Colleagues wanted to help me
I remember my first days at work, my colleagues wanted to do all the tasks for me to make things easier for me. So, I decided to face the moment of truth and see if with my visual ability I was able to work independently and it turned out that with effort and interest I succeeded.
A short time later I was selected to participate in a Career Plan which afforded me the opportunity to know and train in a practical and in-depth way in the different areas of a hotel, which later lead to me occupying the position of Hotel Manager. For a tourism student this is almost the senior position available and I had travelled that journey enjoying my training. During this period of my career I also became a mother, which together with my job are my most important life projects. I remember that it was a complex stage because managing everything was quite difficult, but with family support and organization it was possible to achieve it.
Grateful for everything in my life
Ten years after, I was offered the role of developing the accessibility project in my company. For 12 years I have overseen the Accessibility Area where we deploy this project that is transversal and differentiating for our company and for which we have received numerous national and international awards and recognitions. Throughout this time, the list of conferences, seminars, and classes in which we have disseminated our best practices is numerous. In parallel, I have combined this work with the development of other projects such as the development of equality and volunteering plans.
Currently I’m working on the accessibility of two new hotels and other projects such as developing client experience from the perspective of innovation.
For whom and what are you most grateful in your life?
I feel grateful for everything, I really feel thankful for everything in my life, I have received many gifts. However, if I had to choose one, it would be my son.
All inclusive hotel – in terms of workforce and guests
How come you work for a very special company – all inclusive hotels? What does that mean – all inclusive hotel?
I did a Tourism degree because I like interacting with people and speaking different languages. I was listening to the radio while I was studying and heard an advertisement for Confortel Hoteles (that was our name before we become ILUNION Hotels). I felt an instant connection and wanted to work there, although I didn’t know they employed people with disability, it seemed like it was destiny. “Everyone Inclusive Hotels” means that at ILUNION Hotels all the clients are welcome.
We’re not just a hotel chain for clients with disabilities, our hotels welcome everyone, whether they have a disability or not. We see disability as an everyday occurrence and that it should be normalised, for us it is not unusual or strange to have guests and employees with a disability. This concept of the campaign also includes our employees, ten of our Hotels are CEE (Special Employment Centres), where at least 70% of the work force have some kind of disability. The rest of the hotels also have staff with a disability, giving an overall total of 40%.
I try to focus on the bright side of life
Where do you see inclusion at its best and at its worst (in society, in the corporate world, in private life?)
The best place, and example, of everyday inclusion is in my own Company, ILUNION. ILUNION Hotels is part of the company called ILUNION, which is the business entity of Grupo Social ONCE. Grupo Social ONCE´s maxim is that everyone should be included and be able to contribute to society, for many this means being given the opportunity to join the labour market. Because of this Grupo Social ONCE works for and with people to provide dignified and sustainable employment for a fair salary for people with disabilities and those who are at risk of exclusion. With normalization people with disabilities are offered the great opportunity not only to work but also to feel an active part of society.
Regarding the worst, I would say the discrimination of people with accessibility needs and its disrespect of people´s rights, also the violence and abandonment of children.
I try to focus on the bright side of life trusting that human beings can show their kindest side.
The increase of exclusion in the society is frightening
Has anything changed regarding inclusion during the Covid pandemic?
The main change is the increase in the amount of exclusion in society, and the level of poverty too, and because of this it should motivate our solidarity to grow to meet these challenges. We don’t need to go far, people who need help are very close to us. Fortunately, many associations have been available to help people in need, this help comes from citizen solidarity which is building a network for those who are suffering the effects of the pandemic.
What does that mean for your hotels, for the business, for you personally and professionally?
Our Group has had the great opportunity to collaborate in different initiatives during the pandemic. For example, by giving support to our employees’ families, which due to the pandemic didn’t have enough resources to cover basic food necessities. We have also donated many tons of food to Food Banks.
Additionally, some of our hotels were medicalized and welcomed people in recovery from Covid19, ill elderly people who had to leave their residence and healthcare workers that left their homes to avoid the possibility of spreading Covid19 to their relatives.
Personally, I believe these are all worthwhile and necessary projects and have added value and support to our communities. We all have been pleased to help, both personally and professionally, each adding their own grain of sand.
Looking forward to travelling again
What are your plans for the future?
I want to continue participating in the development of new projects in my company. I also plan to continue doing courses related with my area but also in new fields, to keeping learning, which is a passion for me. And of course, as soon as it’s possible, travel around the world again as it’s one of the things I like the most.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. To those who are reading, I would encourage them to follow their dreams through any circumstances and make the most of their lives.
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Foto: Osebni arhiv Beatriz Rubio del Campo