The number of ADA lawsuits against businesses has nearly tripled since 2013. And, by all accounts, this startling trend is on pace to continue. As a quick refresher, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, more commonly known as the ADA, was a landmark law that outlawed discrimination in employment, housing, or other areas on the basis of the applicant being disabled. This legislation also extended to most businesses and buildings and required them to accommodate disabled people by installing elevators, wheelchair ramps, designated handicap bathroom stalls, etc.
Critics of the legislation point to the laws vague wording when it comes to describing the extent to which and what may qualify for discrimination. Take for example, a Georgia hotel that was sued for not having a swimming pool lift. Considering how to make your entire hotel experience accessible to all must be a top priority. It is often not enough to have wheelchair ramps into and out of your building, but taking into account how disabled patrons may experience the pool or navigate around your facilities is key. Even frivolous lawsuits can be costly to your hotel brand and generate negative news and publicity. To help improve your hotels accessibility for all guests, consider these three upgrades.
Widen walk areas. Do you have a lot of narrow walking paths around your pools, or throughout your hotel property that patrons would need to use? If so, you may want to have them widened to accommodate a wheelchair. In case of an emergency, you want your patrons, of all abilities, to be able to navigate around your property easily and safely.
Strategically position signage. Most signs are placed at eye-level for a standing person, however it is important to consider the vantage point and readability of all signs for wheelchair-bound guests. The angle and placement of your signs, especially emergency signs is essential in ensuring that all guests can get the important information they need, at all times.
Install automatic door openers. Many hotels have a some type of automatic door opening feature for entry and exit doors, but few have this option for individual hotel doors. Installing an automatic option for guest rooms can be a great way to make getting in and out of the hotel room easier for disabled patrons. Imagine trying to navigate a wheelchair and luggage through a door that must be held open to get through. Not only could this be difficult but it could present an easily avoidable liability should the patron get injured during this process.
These are just some potential ADA compliant hotel upgrades you can do to enhance the stay at your hotel for disabled customers. With any new interior renovation, it is essential to consider how the new experience may impact all of your hotel-goers. The experienced and trusted hotel upgrade team at The Beam Team is happy to help you plan for your next renovation project. Our installation specialists can work with you to determine the best upgrades that will work to not only elevate your hotel experience but also help you adhere to the ADA requirements. To schedule a no-strings-attached consultation, give us a call today at (630) 816-0631.