Making Your Guest Rooms ADA Compliant

By Kathleen Pohlid Founder and Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | February 13, 2011

Now is the time for hotel and lodging facilities to evaluate their facilities to ensure guest rooms are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are two important reasons to do so:

  • First, facilities that want to qualify for safe harbor exceptions to the new 2010 ADA standards must ensure compliance with the 1991 standards before March 15, 2012. Otherwise, the 2010 standards apply.

  • Second, recent Department of Justice action indicates greater scrutiny on hotel accessibility. Facilities should be alert to these enforcement actions and ensure their guest rooms are ADA compliant, otherwise they may face litigation by DOJ or individuals claiming denial of access.

Moreover, the requirements for ADA compliant guest rooms have changed and may affect planned alterations or construction.

Compliance Options

Last year, DOJ issued revised ADA regulations and new 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The 2010 standards include additional design and construction requirements for disability access and some revisions to the “current” or “old” 1991 standards. The revised regulations go into effect on March 15, 2011 while the “new” 2010 standards go into effect on March 15, 2012. Both the revised regulations and the new 2010 standards are available through the DOJ website at www.ada.gov.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.