Every guest who stays in your lodgings must feel welcome, satisfied and willing to return. This is key to ensure they enjoy their time in your property and can recommend your services to others in the future.
However, accessibility is a crucial factor you may have overlooked.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulates that places of public accommodation — such as hotels, motels and all other types of lodging business — caters to customers, regardless of their disabilities.
This applies to all public accommodations regardless of their status as a for-profit or non-profit operation, though owner-occupied properties with five or fewer rooms available are not covered.
Visual impairments and blindness affect more than 1.3 billion people worldwide, and these individuals have the right to enjoy a comfortable stay in your lodgings without being obstructed by a lack of accessibility
Understanding your Obligations
What are your obligations? These include:
Ensure your facilities align with the ADA’s accessibility standards (both during construction and while making structural alterations)
Adjust all policies and operating procedures to suit guests who are blind or visually impaired, such as making staff aware that guide dogs are welcome even if other pets are not, and allow for alternative proof of identification beyond a driver’s license
Take down any physical barriers or hazards that could pose a danger to someone with poor vision
Make sure aids are available, such as braille, audio assistance and high-contrast signs, to accommodate those with sight-related problems
Tips to Provide a Better Experience for guest who are Blind or Visually Impaired
Be more sensitive
One of the most important things to consider when welcoming people with poor or no vision into your lodgings is sensitivity: are your staff all trained to provide the level of service required?
While dealing with these individuals may be more of a challenge for employees and consume more of their time, they should endeavor to meet all visitors’ needs. This may include helping them get to their room, filling out forms, offering directions and more. And it might not… read our next tip
Embrace indoor navigation solutions
Providing customers who are blind or have poor vision with verbal directions and clear guidance throughout the property can be a major aid to their experience. Becoming familiarized with new places, particularly those which are busy, can be difficult.
RightHear is designed to help users to find thier way at indoor environments and be more independent via audible directions, delivered through their smartphone. The app works in conjunction with innovative sensors, relaying all the details people require to find their way independently.
Integrating RightHear into your lodgings just like keating hotel did will enable you to accommodate those who are blind or affected by vision impairments to a higher standard, and improve your overall accessibility.
Accommodate guide dogs
Guide dogs are obviously vital to countless Americans affected by blindness, and your lodgings must be accessible to both the animal and their owner equally.
Even if you have a strict no-pets rule in effect, understand that the guide dog is an essential companion for your guest. Make sure they are treated kindly and not as a burden. for example, making sure they have a water bowl is a good way to do it just like the one that we have in our office.
Every single guest who stays in your property, regardless of its size, has the right to expect a service that meets their essential needs. Make sure you take all necessary steps to do just that.
Have you considered how accessible your lodgings are? What technology have you incorporated into your work to make people with disabilities feel more welcome? Share your stories in the comments below!