Understanding the ADA Compliance Changes

By Clara Rose President & Creative Director, Creative Alliance | November 27, 2011

Understanding the ADA compliance laws can seem like a daunting task. As the March 2012 deadline approaches, having a grasp on the new ADA compliance changes is becoming critical.
The Attorney General, the head of the Department of Justice, takes ADA compliance very seriously. The ultimate goal of the DOJ is to provide equal access for all, without regard to their ability. To this end, they often impose severe fines for non-compliance.

Lawsuits brought against violators, by the Attorney General, can include monetary damages and civil penalties; however the civil penalties may not exceed $50, 000 if it is a first time violation. Subsequent offenses may bring civil penalties up to $100, 000 per violation.

Recently a large hotel chain was cited in 900 of its hotels and a large convenience store chain was required to establish a $1.5M compensatory damages fund for potentially aggrieved individuals who MAY someday file a claim with the Attorney General. Clearly it is prudent to be proactive with a plan toward compliance.

If there is a compliance plan in place, a simple review of the policies and procedures should be sufficient. If a compliance survey was not a part of that process, having one done might be a good course of action for some peace of mind.

Establishing a plan

• Utilize the services of an ADA renovation specialist, an ADA Attorney and an Insurance Risk Manager; get a complete comprehensive compliance survey.
• Establish a “Compliance File”, to document your compliance efforts. Document audits, trainings, workshops, meetings, barrier removal, etc.
• Review company policies for potential discrimination.
• Review job descriptions and employee policies for potential discrimination.
• Establish a plan to remediate any identifiable compliance issues.
• Video and digitally archive all projects from start to finish; this ensures accurate historical documentation.

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.