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William A. Brewer III

On January 31, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") implemented revised regulations covering what is required by public accommodations to meet the Americans With Disabilities Act standards for accessible design. The new standards mandate for the first time that pools and spas be made accessible at most places of lodging, including hotels. Advocates for people with disabilities have made clear that the time has come for the hospitality industry to comply or face the risk of sinking in a pool of private lawsuits and federal enforcement actions. Here is what you need to know about the new ADA standards and what to do if your venue does not comply. Read on...

Clara  Rose

The growing number of travelers that need special accommodations or access is changing the face of the hospitality industry forever. Currently there are more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. Additionally, somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 everyday of the year and will do so for the next 19 years! How many of these baby boomers have - or will have in the future - different abilities that require special accommodations? Is your brand being proactive and making the adjustments necessary to meet the changing needs of the multigenerational travelers? How will you stay relevant? Read on...

Clara  Rose

Social media allows anyone with an internet connection (web based or mobile) to interact with others in a personal or anonymous fashion and to engage in a non-threatening way. For consumers with different abilities, the benefits are even more profound since it offers them opportunities for participation. As the internet has morphed from an informational only resource to a more conversational style of interaction; the growth in social media interaction has become a tidal wave. Consumers can now enjoy the benefits that come from engaging with goods and services providers as well as socializing, enjoying entertainment or even working from a remote location or at home. Read on...

Clara  Rose

With the recent ADA Compliance extension granted by the Department of Justice, the deadline for installation of water feature lifts have been has been pushed out until January 31, 2013. During this compliance extension, the department of Justice has announced that it will not enforce the fixed elements provision in the 2010 standards against those owners who purchased otherwise compliant portable lifts prior to March 15, 2012, as long as those owners keep the lifts in place for use and operational during all times that the water feature is open to guest. While this short reprieve has created a collective sigh of relief in the hospitality industry, it should not give license to complacency. It is almost certain that there will be very little leniency for those not compliant by this new deadline. Read on...

Stephen  Barth

What if someone told you that by spending an estimated $5,000 (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more), you could show exceptional appreciation to the men and women that became disabled while protecting our rights during a war? Or what if you had a child that was disabled but loved to swim. Would you want them to be able to enjoy all of the amenities that a place of public accommodation has to offer, or would you want them to have to sit on the side of the pool while all of the other children were playing in it? Perhaps it is time to take a different perspective on the ADA. Read on...

Clara  Rose

Many hospitality properties have taken a proactive approach to the ADA changes and hired an independent firm to conduct an ADA compliance inspection or survey, others have decided to wait and see. While these new regulations promise positive change for those with different abilities; much more can be done in an effort to offer an ADA Friendly environment for those guests. Go beyond the required ADA access; consider adding some of the measures or ADA Friendly features from the 2012 Checklist and become a truly ADA friendly property. Read on...

Clara  Rose

Disability is one small fact about a person with different abilities, just like having red or black hair, green or blue eyes or wearing glasses. Looking beyond the disability, one will see an individual whose life is more similar to theirs than it is different. Discrimination - especially subtle discrimination - continues to thrive. It is everyday stereotypes and assumptions about our differences that are the basis for most discrimination. It is probable that many of these acts are not committed with malice but are the result of a lack of education about proper terminology and etiquette. Read on...

William A. Brewer III

The hotel industry has become a target of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enforcement actions and lawsuits. Whether action is prompted by a single guest complaint at a particular hotel or a sweeping DOJ investigation covering hotels in a designated geographical area, one thing is clear - no hotel is immune. Boutique, luxury and limited service hotels are all within the scope as the DOJ widens its target range. Read on...

Clara  Rose

Since ADA sensitivity is a growing concern in the hospitality industry, a proactive plan for training would seem prudent. Discrimination - especially subtle discrimination - continues to thrive. It is the everyday stereotypes and assumptions about our differences that are the basis for most unintentional discrimination and a lack of training about sensitivity issues that can result in these inadvertent offenses. Read on...

Soy Williams

It's hard to believe a year and a half has passed since the new Americans with Disabilities Act regulations were published by the U.S. Department of Justice. The deadline to comply with many new requirements have come and gone, and in two months all requirements become mandatory. The new regulations include general as well as specific provisions for lodging establishments and facilities. Read on for a list of policies, practices and procedures that should be part of every day operations along with a summary of capital improvements that might be necessary for continued ADA compliance. Read on...

Clara  Rose

ADA compliance changes are coming; most businesses are already aware of this fact and have at least started talking about how it will affect them. The question is - how painful and complicated will this process be? Compliance changes are inevitable, they can be daunting and overwhelming or with a few simple steps and some professional advice they can be manageable. With nearly a quarter of the U.S. population looking for accessible places to stay or vacation - the hospitality industry can greatly benefit from being ADA compliant. So where do you start? Do you have a plan? What do these changes look like? Do you need some help understanding the ADA compliance changes? Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

Hotels and other establishments that emphasize architectural appeal at the expense of accessibility are making a big mistake that can cause a loss of potential business, tarnish their brand, and increase their potential for legal liability. The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) sets forth accessibility standards to allow persons with disabilities to enjoy places of public accommodation to the same extent as those without disabilities. ADA compliance and architectural appeal are not mutually exclusive and achieving both can greatly enhance a hotel's success. We will look at ten important principles and considerations to integrate into hotel architecture and design elements. Read on...

Clara  Rose

How does the ADA community affect your bottom line? Is your property ADA compliant? Beyond compliant, is it actually ADA friendly? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this demographic (the ADA community) has more than $175 billion in discretionary spending power. The business owners and hospitality properties that recognize the ADA community and their potential revenue contributions, surely have the edge. Such companies are working hard to be not just ADA compliant but truly ADA friendly. They are making a difference, while capturing some of the revenue dollars that affect their bottom line. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

There is only one chance to make a good first impression. Trite as it may be, creating a good first impression can pave the way to attract business, establish a positive brand, and thwart potential liability. Hotels and other establishments which neglect their parking lots miss out on the opportunity to attract business. Worse yet, they may raise the potential for costly litigation and non-compliance under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As we will discuss, ADA compliant parking involves much more than designating a few parking spots as handicap accessible. Read on...

Soy Williams

A line of travelers gliding effortlessly through the city scape on SegwayR PTs might invoke scenes from a 20th century sci-fi movie. Less commonplace might be an amputee among them using a seat that has been retrofitted onto the device. Something of a novelty still, SegwayR PTs have been at the hub of activity in the disability rights realm. These and other power-driven mobility devices have the United States government requiring lodging establishments to permit individuals with mobility disabilities using them in any areas of these facilities. Read on...

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.