New Disability Access Rules for Hotel Recreational Facilities

By Kathleen Pohlid Founder & Managing Member, Pohlid, PLLC | January 16, 2011

Co-authored by Soy Williams, AIA, Soy Williams Consulting

Recent changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations require many hotels and resorts to make significant changes to their recreational facilities by 2012. The new ADA rules include specifications for recreational boating areas, exercise machines, golf facilities, play areas, swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, and court sports facilities. Legal compliance is not the only reason to take note of these new rules. Since one out of every ten persons today has a disability, these accommodations make business sense, providing an opportunity to increase sales and services by expanding the hospitality market to travelers with disabilities and their companions.

Disability access to recreational facilities at hotels and resorts is becoming increasingly important. Recent changes to the regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act add supplemental requirements for recreational elements including boating areas, exercise machines, golf facilities, play areas, swimming pools, wading pools and spas, saunas, steam rooms, tennis and other court sports facilities. With U.S. Census reports that 12% of Americans have a disability, this poses a significant potential demand for access.

Although the new regulatory requirements present legal compliance obligations to establishments in the hospitality industry, these changes also provide opportunities to broaden the market base. The Census reports that over 40% of adults 65 and older identify themselves as having a disability and projects that the number of people 65 years and older will more than double from an estimated 35 million in 2000 to 71.5 million by 2030. These trends likely translate into a growing demand for disability accommodation within the hospitality industry.

alt text

The ADA, enacted in 1990, prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and their companions. Title III of the ADA requires places of public accommodation and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, and altered in compliance with ADA rules and for architectural barriers in existing facilities to be removed when it is readily achievable to do so. The 1991 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set forth the specifics for such accommodation requirements. On July 23, 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder issued amended ADA regulations, including among other changes, supplemental requirements for recreational elements which were not addressed or scoped within the 1991 standards. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which have been approved and become effective on March 15, 2011, require compliance by all Title II (Public Entities) and Title III (Public Accommodations and Commercial Entities) by March 15, 2012.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.