Hospitality and Tourism

As our name suggests, many of our earliest clients at Open Doors Organization (ODO) were restaurants and hotels. We continue to work closely with the Hospitality Industry, providing staff training and marketing advice as well as site inspections for ADA compliance. Our staff have audited hundreds of properties during the creation of our award-winning Easy Access guides. Many of these hotels and restaurants have subsequently become our clients, relying on our expertise as they plan and carry out renovations to improve accessibility.

Americans with disabilities make up a significant part of your customer base, as our research clearly shows. In the 2015 ODO Market Study, more than 50% of respondents ate out at least once a week. Unfortunately, 52% also reported that they encountered barriers in restaurants, most commonly lack of space between tables, steps, difficult entry doors and dining rooms that are too noisy.

In 2015, 53% of adults with disabilities (or 16.3 million people) had stayed in a hotel or motel over a two-year period, typically spending $100 per night. Approximately half (46%) reported barriers of some type most commonly rooms inconveniently located, doors hard to open and inaccessible shower facilities.

In many cases, we find that small physical changes can make a huge difference as can improvements in customer service. Feeling welcome and appreciated means a lot to people with disabilities who often find themselves treated as a problem rather than as a valued guest. Our expert staff, many of whom have disabilities themselves, can help you fine tune both your premises and your customer service skills.

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Lodging Reservation Compliance

As of March 15, 2012, places of lodging are required, under Title III of the ADA 2010 Standards, to ensure that individuals with disabilities can make reservations on lodging websites for wheelchair or hearing accessible guest rooms. The five key provisions require a place of lodging to:

  1. Modify practices to ensure that individuals with disabilities can make reservations during the same hours and in the same manner as individuals without disabilities.
  2. Identify and describe accessible features and inaccessible features in the hotel and guest rooms in enough detail to allow an individual with disabilities to assess whether a hotel meets his or her needs.
  3. Ensure that accessible guest rooms are held for use by individuals with disabilities until all other guest rooms of that type have been rented.
  4. Reserve, upon request, accessible guest rooms or specific types of guest rooms and ensure that the reserved rooms are blocked and removed from all reservations systems.
  5. Guarantee that a specific accessible guest room, once reserved, is held for the reserving customer.

Also, staff must be able to identify and describe accessible features of the facility offered through its reservation system including:

  • The accessible room type (e.g. deluxe executive suite, deluxe king, etc.);
  • The number and size of beds (e.g., two queen beds);
  • Available communications features (e.g., visual alarms and notification devices)
  • The type of accessible bathing facility (e.g., bathtub with grab bars, transfer shower, or roll-in shower)

Open Doors Organization (ODO) offers 3 levels of service–Basic, Premium, and World-class–to help you ensure that your website is fully compliant with the reservation regulations and welcoming to ALL guests. Our affordable rates will fit any size budget and our proactive reservation compliance services will allow travelers to book a mobility or hearing accessible guestroom online, thereby minimizing your risk of unwanted legal problems.

Call Bonnie at Open Doors Organization, (510) 524-2026, to get started.

ODO Hospitality Services

  • Staff training
  • Video production
  • Marketing strategies
  • ADA compliance reviews
  • Review of architectural plans
  • Braille and large print menus
  • Web accessibility analysis

Complimentary CD from Open Doors Organization – Assistive Devices for Hotels and Restaurants

As a service to the Hospitality Industry, Open Doors Organization has compiled a list of adaptive aids—from shower benches and step stools…to reachers and eating utensils…to pool lifts and adaptive exercise equipment. All the products listed are available via the Internet. Contact Open Doors Organization to request a copy of this complimentary CD.

DBTAC Audio Conference Series – Archived recording and transcript from May 18, 2010

Reservations Please: Ensuring Customer Service for People with Disabilities
Guest Speakers:
Laurel Van Horn, Research Director, Open Doors Organization
Ron Pettit, Access Manager, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Seven Steps to Great Customer Service – PowerPoint presentation by Laurel Van Horn, ODO.
Ensuring Access to Customers with Disabilities – PowerPoint presentation by Ron Pettit, RCCL.

Hospitality Resources

Accessible Customer Service Practices for Hotel and Lodging Guests with Disabilities – ADA Business Connection, Department of Justice

ADA Business Brief: Communicating with Guests who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hotels, Motels, and Other Places of Transient Lodging

Guide for Places of Lodging: Serving Guests Who Are Blind or Who Have Low Vision

ADA Checklist for Hotels and Motels: Ensuring Access to Services and Facilities by Customers Who Are Blind, Deaf-Blind, or Visually Impaired – American Federation of the Blind

Commonly Asked Questions about Service Animals in Places of Business

ADA Business Brief: Service Animals

Hospitality & Disability – An ADA National Network Initiative

ADA Training Materials for Hotels and Restaurants

At Your Service – Free, 20-minute customer service video

Common ADA Problems at Newly Constructed Lodging Facilities

Five Steps to Make New Lodging Facilities Comply with the ADA

ADA Checklist for New Lodging Facilities

Checklist for Existing Facilities – Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal

All Access Spa-ing – Article by Laurel Van Horn, Research Director, ODO on accommodating and reaching out to spa guests with disabilities

Food Service: Accommodating Diners with Disabilities

How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers

National Restaurant Association ADA Toolkit

See also Business Resources

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