Hospitality Industry Management Update: “The Accessibility Puzzle: Navigating ADA Requirements”

“…In new construction and renovations, architects often fail to provide an appropriate variety of accessible rooms that would offer guests with disabilities options comparable to those available to non-disabled guests, Vu says. Image ‘This can be a very expensive mistake. Oftentimes hotels are purchased without a thorough ADA review so that the new owners are unaware of the issues present at their new hotel’…”

In the years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the lodging industry has faced many hurdles—and many opportunities—in implementing the far-reaching civil rights law. The past two decades have been a mixed bag of regulatory enforcement, litigation, and gradual recognition of the roles ADA and accessible design play in our industry. Since 1990, hoteliers have spent billions of dollars making their facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities in compliance with the ADA, not only because it’s the law but also because it’s their mission to make all guests feel comfortable and welcome.

“ADA compliance for new properties is easier than older ones since new hotel compliance standards usually come from the brands,” says Raj Shendge, COO of Ohio-based SAP Hotels. ADA compliance for older properties is trickier. He notes that when rules change in the middle of the game it becomes much more difficult. “No lawyer, city official, fire marshal, brand manager knows what is happening.”

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