If you operate a hotel, motel, inn, or other place of lodging, you must take steps to ensure that people with disabilities can find out about the accessible features of your facility and effectively make reservations for accessible guest rooms. ADA requirements that will take effect on March 15, 2012 include:
- Individuals with disabilities must be able to make reservations for accessible guest rooms in the same manner and during the same times as others, whether by telephone, in person or through a third party.
- You must identify and describe accessible features of the facility and the guest rooms in enough detail that an individual with a disability can assess whether the facility will meet his or her needs. Information, including photos or other images, may be posted on Internet sites or included in brochures or other materials. Customer service staff should be trained to respond to specific inquiries about the features of the facility, including accessible routes to and through the facility; details about the configuration of accessible guest rooms and bathrooms; the availability of accessibility equipment or features such as bath benches, or visual alarm and alert devices for guests who are deaf or hard of hearing; and the accessibility of common spaces such as meeting rooms, lounges, restaurants, swimming pools, or fitness centers.
- Accessible guest rooms must be held back until all other rooms of that type have been rented.
- When reservations are made for accessible guest rooms, the specific rooms must be held for those individuals with disabilities, and the rooms must be removed from the reservation system. Because there are relatively few accessible guest rooms in a particular hotel, and the rooms may have different features (for example, some mobility-accessible rooms have bathtubs and some have roll-in showers), this provision is designed to reduce double-booking and help ensure that a room with the specific features needed is available upon the guest’s arrival.
- If you make rooms available for reservations through third parties, such as travel agents or Internet-based reservation services, you must provide accessible rooms to at least some of the third parties and you must provide information about the accessible features of the facility and the guest rooms.
- You can broaden your market appeal and boost your customers’ satisfaction by implementing a reservation system that helps travelers with disabilities find and reserve guest rooms that meet their needs, and help ensure that those rooms are available for them when they arrive.