News & Events

ODO Newsletter–A Must Read!

Keep up with our many activities at Open Doors Organization as well as industry news affecting travelers with disabilities. The ODO Newsletter is a quick, monthly read that covers travel industry events, new federal regulations and the latest technologies. Current Issue.
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Universal Access in Airports 2018–Save The Date!

Open Doors Organization is delighted to announce that the 7th Universal Access in Airports will take place at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) on August 27-29, 2018. We moved the event forward in the calendar year to take advantage of the lovely, late summer weather in Minnesota. And we’ve got a great conference hotel–the brand new Intercontinental Minneapolis Airport. As in past years, the ODO Airline Symposium will take place the first day of the event, August 27. Details on registration, sponsorships and the program for both events will be forthcoming in the next few months. We’d love your input as we plan UAIA 2018. Help us make this unique, biennial gathering the best ever! Contact Ryan Boesch, 773.388.8839.

UAIA 2018 Flyer

ODO Leads ACRP 01-31 Project

Open Doors Organization is lead investigator on a new Airports Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) project entitled Innovative Solutions to Facilitate Accessibility for Airport Travelers with Disabilities. It’s a broad topic and an exciting one. Partnering on the research, which kicked off July 2016, are Alliiance, Arora Engineers, Trillion Aviation and Indiana University. In addition to a literature review, ODO will be conducting surveys of aviation executives and travelers with disabilities, carrying out interviews and site visits at a number of airports in the US, Canada and Europe and holding focus groups on user needs. So if you work in aviation or have a disability, don’t be surprised if you receive an invitation from us to respond to a short questionnaire on Google Docs. For us to produce a really useful, comprehensive guidebook, your input is vital!

Lodging Websites–Are You ADA Compliant?

A recent review of over 60 lodging websites in the San Francisco Bay Area revealed that less than 1% of hotels are in compliance with the reservation requirements of the 2010 ADA Title III Regulations that took effect March 15, 2012.

Can a customer that requires disabled accessibility readily reserve on your website a mobility or hearing accessible guestroom? Is hotel staff able to answer questions about your property’s accessibility features? Does your hotel “hard block” accessible rooms when they are reserved? These are just some of the questions that places of lodging should ask themselves to help ensure that their reservation policies comply with the 2010 ADA regulations for lodging reservations.

Travel consultant, Bonnie Lewkowicz recently teamed up with Chicago-based, Open Doors Organization (ODO), a leader in the field of Inclusive Tourism, to work with the lodging industry to help bring their websites into compliance with the reservation regulations. They conducted a preliminary review of more 60 places of lodging in the San Francisco/Bay Area and were surprised to find that the majority of hotel websites were not compliant with all of the reservation requirements. Read more: docx pdf

Disability Travel Spending at Record High $17.3 Billion

In conjunction with the ADA 25 Celebration, Open Doors Organization has released its much anticipated 2015 Market Study. It confirms once again that this is a strong market that’s still growing. American adults with disabilities now spend $17.3 billion annually on just their own travel. Conducted by Mandala Research, the 2015 Market Study is a follow-up to ODO’s groundbreaking 2002 and 2005 surveys. New this year are an expanded section on cruise travel and data on the use of mobile technology and ride share services. The 53-page report is available for sale on the ODO Academy website.
Press release: pdf doc
Key Findings: pdf msword

Featured Training

2018 ACI-ODO Workshops–Trinidad and San Francisco

Registration is now open for the 2018 “Accommodating Passengers with Disabilities” workshops from ACI-Airports Council International and Open Doors Organization. Now that the first workshop, held January 15-17 in Port of Spain, Trinidad, has successfully concluded, your next opportunity to participate is May 14-16 at San Francisco International Airport. This dynamic training is designed to meet the needs of both seasoned access professionals and managers new to the field.

The 3-day training will be taught by ODO trainers Laurel Van Horn and Craig Kennedy. The course, which includes a disability awareness module and an overview of both accessible and universal design, also covers the latest regulatory changes, identifies new technologies and resources, and highlights best practices from airports worldwide. As in 2017, the interactive workshop will include an airport tour that focuses on accessible design and technology and how travelers with disabilities function and navigate in this complex environment.

To register, visit ACI Global Training.

Featured Project

ADA Motorcoach Training

In January 2012 Open Doors Organization (ODO), in cooperation with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), launched a new training program for intercity and charter/tour bus operators. The program is designed to help companies meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and also provide the best possible service to their clients with disabilities including older travelers.

The lively, full-day training is conducted by two trainers, one a disability expert from ODO, the other a UMA board member and motorcoach operator. The morning session, which covers ADA basics, disability awareness and service on the coach, is for all personnel including drivers. The afternoon session, which addresses company policies and procedures, is for management
and sales staff.

The training is being marketed to state bus associations as well as to individual companies and groups of companies. A 2-hour Refresh Training is also available. For details and pricing, email
Laurel Van Horn, Director of Programs.

ADA Motorcoach Training Flyer