If you’re a hotel owner in California, you are probably already well aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To make your hotel building ADA compliant, you had to install things like wheelchair ramps and handicap shower bars. But did you know that your hotel website is also required to have ADA-compliant features?
Tip No. 1: Describe Accessible Features of the Hotel and the Accessible Guest Rooms. First, Accessible Guest Room types should be noted for their unique basic Accessible features such as roll-in shower vs tub with grab bars. Some plaintiffs are now making claims that much more needs to be described. How detailed the descriptions need to be is a matter to discuss with a hotel ADA attorney. The descriptions should appear both on the Hotel’s website as well as the descriptions on third-party booking sites. In addition, Accessible Features of the Hotels common areas should also be described. Again, how detailed this needs to be should be discussed with a hotel ADA attorney.
Tip No. 2: Make sure your website is accessible for guests who may have visual impairments and other disabilities.
People who are visually impaired can still access content on websites using screen readers, but the content must be compatible with screen readers. Make sure that all of the content on your website is accessible on the technologies that may be used by your disabled customers. Unlike Tip No. 1, this concerns more of the “coding” of the website and not the “content” of the website. Tip No. 1 concerns what is being said, Tip No. 2 concerns how it is being displayed.
Tip No. 3: Stick to simple formatting
While it’s important that your website is visually pleasing, the main purpose of your web content is to be informative, not artistic. Choose a simple, easy-to-read font and minimal formatting so that your information can be easily understood.
Tip No. 4: Combine audio and visual signals
Your website can be accessible to almost everyone as long as you include both visual and auditory components. When you add an auditory feature for the blind, make sure that it is attached to a visual feature, such as subtitles or a text equivalent so that the deaf can understand as well.
What happens if you still get sued?
Even business owners that do everything in their power to be ADA compliant could still face a lawsuit from a disgruntled customer. If you’re in this situation, an ADA law attorney may be able to help you dispute the claim and defend our hotel’s good name.