hihotels has partnered with AAHOA to bring you an informational series on ADA Lawsuits and best practices for compliance with ADA requirements.
Compliance with the ADA in Four Steps
This article provides general business information and is not intended to replace legal advice on your specific situation. It is strongly recommended that you consult an attorney and obtain professional, business and legal advice that is appropriate to your particular situation.
As we ring in the new year, there are a few quick and easy steps you can take to ensure your property is in compliance with the ADA. These four steps will help you be successful in running your business and may be useful in also avoiding costly settlements and lawsuits.
1. First, examine your microsites.
Each microsite (e.g., Expedia) on which your property may be listed has special settings you must activate to ensure your property appears in search results with the correct ADA compliant information. This may consist of updating the number of ADA rooms you have available, the room types, and any other necessary information. Providing these on your brand website may not automatically update the many microsites in use for your hotel.
TIP: Simply updating these settings is insufficient. Double-check your settings periodically and search the Internet for any new sites on which your property may be appearing. It's very important to be proactive in your compliance efforts.
2. Second, update your property in your franchise portal.
Your Hospitality International Assurance & Marketing Program (AMP) Director will gladly assist you with updating your property's ADA information. Reach out today to ensure your information on record is accurate. If you make any changes to your property, be sure to notify your AMP Director.
3. Third, determine if your property meets the physical requirements mandated by the ADA.
The DOJ website has a checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal (last revised in 1995). The checklist is intended to be used when surveying an existing facility for barriers to accessibility and does not include the newer, 2010 requirements. The Institute for Human Centered Design has a useful, updated ADA Checklist for existing facilities that incorporates the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. You can also reach out to a local contractor to audit your property for compliance. Note, these checklists do not cover all areas of the standards and you should seek counsel and guidance when necessary.
4. Finally, seek and understand the insurance coverage for your property.
Speak with your insurance agent to understand what types of claims under the ADA are covered, what your deductible is, and what policies may be available for you to purchase.
While having an ADA-compliant property may not guarantee protection against being subjected to a lawsuit, it is the best protection and may be far less expensive than defending a lawsuit or settling a claim. Remember, just because you have received one claim does not mean you will not receive others. In next week's email, we'll discuss the ADA requirements and the "grandfather clause" myth.
If you find this article helpful, join AAHOA and become a part of the nation's largest hotel owners association. AAHOA Members enjoy access to industry-leading material, exclusive webinars on a variety of topics such as the ADA, and personalized guidance on areas of their business. Visit www.aahoa.com to learn more.
AAHOA and helps their nearly 20,000 Members navigate through franchise and independent hotel ownership issues and business-related inquiries. To learn more,
visit AAHOA.com/membership/franchise-relations or email email@example.com.