A pilot awareness-raising campaign has been launched with three hotels by the Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI), which aims to ensure that all families with an autism assistance dog are supported when they visit, stay or dine with them.
The Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork are one of the hotels which will now provide a welcoming and inclusive space for all such families attending their premises. As part of the pilot, AADI designed and created a pull-up banner which the hotels generously committed to purchasing and placing at a focal point within their main reception areas.
Upon arrival at the hotels, guests will be greeted with the banner featuring Koda, an AADI autism assistance dog, and are encouraged to read Koda’s message to learn how they can best support a family with an autism assistance dog by following four simple steps.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign Niall O’Halloran, Purchasing Manager at the Rochestown Park Hotel, said: “In recent years we have seen a noticeable increase in the amount of assistance dogs that are accompanying children within the hotel.
“We know that up to now, guests and diners in the hotel and indeed many staff, were unfamiliar with how to adapt or modify their behaviour around a child who may be accompanied by an assistance dog. With the help of AADI, we are now in a position to contribute in some small way to creating better experiences for families”.
In addition to the banner, staff at the hotels have received a guide produced by AADI explaining the role of an assistance dog and how they can make an experience for a family with an assistance dog more comfortable.
The Kingsley Hotel, Cork and Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny have also come on board with the pilot programme. Following the anticipated success of the pilot campaign over the summer months, AADI hopes to expand this awareness-raising initiative to include even more of their supporters within the hospitality sector.