Pubs have been told they could be losing out on millions of pounds every year by failing to make the most of the disabled market.
A report by the government's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Office for Disability Issues has revealed how hospitality businesses are missing out on potential customers.
It shows that businesses with a better focus on disabled customers have seen increasing customer bases and growth in profits.
It also says that businesses should adapt to take advantage of the opportunities the 2012 Paralympics in London will bring.
The report states that:
• Disabled consumers are a sizeable but poorly addressed segment of the consumer market worth £80 billion per year
• For an average business, disabled customers may account for up to 20 per cent of the customer base
• 58 per cent of disabled consumers state that how a business treats them affects the buying decisions of their family and friends
• 83 per cent of disabled consumers have had to take their custom elsewhere, to a more accessible competitor
Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st's - the sector skills council for hospitality sector, said: "As this report shows, disabled customers are big business for the UK hospitality and tourism industry - the reality is that businesses of all sizes can no longer afford to ignore this market.
"With an ageing population, the number of disabled customers in the UK will only continue to grow, and the upcoming Paralympic Games in 2012 should serve as a wake-up call for many.
"Businesses need to realise that welcoming disabled customers is not just limited to physical accessibility - training staff to be sensitive to their needs and to provide appropriate customer service is just as important. By giving your disabled customers a fantastic service experience you will not only win their business, but also that of their family members and friends."