Under the Customer Service Standards of the AODA, service providers must make their goods, services, and facilities accessible to customers with disabilities. This article will outline accessible customer service for hotels. Accessible hotels include features that ensure guests of all abilities have a comfortable stay.
- Accessible Parking
- Ramped or level entrances
- Automatic doors and wide doorways
- Lifts or elevators whenever there are stairs
- Accessible public washrooms
- Wide aisles and paths of travel
- Visual fire alarms
- Braille and large print room numbers
- Accessible pools, change rooms, and fitness equipment
- Service counters and line areas that accommodate customers using mobility devices
Other features can help hotels become more accessible. For instance, good lighting will help guests who are Deaf communicate visually. Lighting is also important for guests who are visually impaired. Moreover, additional seating may benefit guests with invisible physical disabilities who cannot stand while checking in or waiting for service in the lobby.
Hotels should also provide print information in accessible formats. For instance, some of the information guests might want to read includes:
- Room service menus
- Operation instructions for:
- In-room phones or TVs
- Connecting to wifi
- Other devices on-site, such as fitness equipment and laundry facilities
- Emergency evacuation procedures
Formats guests might read include:
- Large print
- Online on accessible websites
- Accessible Word or HTML files
Staff should tell every guest about all the formats they have information available in.
Hotels can have a third party produce hard-copy Braille or large-print documents. In addition, hotels can produce versions of hard-copy content in accessible web formats. If websites follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, guests can read them using accessible computers or phones.
Hotels with meeting or conference rooms should have assistive listening systems that guests can request to borrow. Hotels should also have wheelchairs available on loan for guests who need them.
Hotels should have policies describing how they will arrange to accommodate guests who need assistance evacuating during emergencies.
Finally, hotels should provide multiple contact methods for guests to get in touch with them, including:
- Phone and teletypewriter (TTY) numbers
- Email addresses
- Accessible websites, including contact forms and methods for booking stays
In addition, hotel websites should provide detailed descriptions and pictures of all their amenities and accessible features. These details will help potential guests find out if a hotel has the features they need or want.
Some of the guests who need accessible hotel features will also need rooms they can use. Our next article will cover features of accessible rooms.