ADA accessibility starts in the parking lot, at least that is what it seems. However, in the case of many businesses the customer interaction frequently starts and is even completed before any physical presence. Being able to book a hotel room online, make changes, find the best deals and even check on availability is done online. Being able to access the property and its facilities begins at the website.
The trade site Hotel News Resource ran an article that used scare words like drive by litigation and tidal wave of litigation to highlight what is an important issue.
…Charles Schwab, the nations leading securities broker-dealer, reached a settlement with a disability rights organization in which Schwab agreed to implement the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG discussed below to assure that its website is navigable by blind and low vision clients. See, ADA compliance and defense lawyer alert: Charles Schwab settles claim over website accessibilityThe Schwab settlement has far reaching implications for the hospitality industry and all other places of public accommodation. The advocacy group which threatened to sue Schwab, is led by the same attorney who, in 2000, “persuaded” the nations leading banks to install “talking ATMs.” Today, nearly every ATM in the country provides voice activated communications elements to assist blind and low vision bank customers to navigate the machines. Websites are the next frontier of ADA litigation.
THE TWO BASIC WEBSITE ISSUES FOR HOTELS.
There are basically two aspects of website access applicable to hotels; website content, and navigability by blind, low vision and cognitively disabled persons.
Interestingly, the web site hosting the article is not a very accessible site itself—illustrating just how extensive the issue of digital accessibility is.