Hotel owners, along with other businesspeople, have expressed concern about the potential of the serious threat of Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA compliance lawsuits. While their hotels might welcome people with disabilities, many recent complaints have focused less on the physical accessibility of the premises and more on a business’ website. The accessibility provisions of the law don’t only apply to making sure that the hotel has adequate space to enter, room for wheelchairs in the bathrooms and appropriate signage for blind guests. There are many provisions for hoteliers to keep in mind to protect themselves and remain in ADA compliance.
Some ADA guidelines are officially part of the law under Title III. Hoteliers must include accessibility information as part of their content on hotel websites and listings at online travel agencies. In addition, hotel owners must allow all guests to book hotel rooms with accessible features rather than permitting hotel staff to screen for disabilities. Therefore, hotel owners must specify the accessible aspects of their facilities.
However, there are also less widely known and expected ADA concerns for hotel owners, like other business owners. A number of businesses have faced lawsuits alleging that their websites were not accessible to customers with disabilities, regardless of whether their actual physical premises were suitably accessible. Here, there are no specific guidelines laid out in the law, so hoteliers may want to ensure that features like screen readers are made available.
In some cases, businesses have been hit by dubious lawsuits that appear to be more an opportunity for some firms to take advantage of a gap in clear ADA regulations than an attempt to protect accessibility on the web. By seeking out legal advice from an ADA defense attorney and planning their websites with access in mind, lodging companies may help to avoid these pitfalls.