A Guideline to Making Your Hotel Website Reservations ADA Accessible

By Christine Samsel Attorney, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck | June 03, 2018

Co-authored by Jonathan C. Sandler & Nick Santucci, Shareholders, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

For the hospitality industry, navigating the maze of complex requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") can prove to be a daunting task. If a facility does not comply with the ADA, or facets of its operations are not ADA-compliant, the risk of being sued has never been higher. Disabled individuals have been pursuing hospitality companies in court, asserting a variety of claims.

This includes complaints that online reservation systems are non-compliant because, among other things, they do not allow disabled individuals to book accessible rooms; lodging facilities lack a sufficient number of accessible rooms; and lodging facilities fail to properly "hold" accessible rooms for disabled individuals. Some of these claims can be asserted against online booking companies as well. Unlike typical "drive-by lawsuits," where prospective plaintiffs visit facilities and seek out violations, individuals need not even leave their homes to identify these types of potential violations; they need only surf the web.

Following up on our prior article, "The Hospitality Industry is Particularly Susceptible to ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits " we provide guidance below on ensuring that disabled guests can book accessible rooms online, confirming that the lodging facility offers the correct number of accessible rooms and following proper protocols in releasing accessible rooms to non-disabled patrons.

Ensure That Disabled Guests Can Book Accessible Rooms Online

Does your website allow disabled guests to book accessible rooms online? If not, it should.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.