News for the Hospitality Executive
Washington, D.C., February 15, 2012 – With one month to go before the remaining requirements of the new 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Act (ADA) Title III regulations (2010 Regulations) go into effect, there is wide-spread confusion and concern among hoteliers. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has compiled a Top Five list to let hoteliers know what’s really going on and why – and what they can do about it.
1. New Reservations Rules go into effect March 15.
The 2010 Regulations require changes to how you classify your accessible rooms and your reservations practices to ensure individuals with disabilities can reserve accessible rooms with the features they need with the same level of convenience as guests who do not need accessible rooms.
2. Acceptable service animals include miniature horses.
You may know that dogs can be service animals, but miniature horses are also protected and must be treated like service animals. Never ask for papers or other proof of an animal’s status as a service animal; however, you can ask two questions – is this a service animal required because of a disability, and what work or tasks has this animal been trained to perform.
3. Pool lifts must be readily available at each pool and cannot be shared.
This means if you have three pools and two Jacuzzis, you may need five lifts. Moreover, batteries must be charged at all times, and only “fixed” lifts are allowed, unless a property can demonstrate installing such a lift is not “readily achievable.”
4. AH&LA’s efforts have prevented costly and unnecessary provisions.
Provisions increasing the number of accessible rooms were removed from the Final Rule, due to AH&LA effectively educating lawmakers about the limitations and challenges faced by the hotel industry and the reality of the perceived need. Additionally, AH&LA fought and won to gain flexibility in signage posting locations, more flexibility around the spacing of exercise equipment, limited expansion into condo/time-share segments, reasonable “safe harbor” provisions for existing properties that already comply with the 1991 Standards, and a reasonable 18-month implementation date, ultimately lessening the burden and financial loss for hoteliers.
5. You’re not in this alone.
That’s what AH&LA is here is for – to provide information, guidance, and resources. We offer personal assistance, access to Webinars, guides, and use of the AH&LA Information Center, all at no cost – but you must be an AH&LA member. Members can click here to view these resources and more, and nonmembers should visit www.ahla.com/membership to learn about the benefits of joining.
“There’s no question AH&LA will continue to press for fair and reasonable measures to replace unnecessary and costly provisions,” said AH&LA President/CEO Joe McInerney, CHA. “But we’re only as strong as our members. Without the collective support of the industry, our influence is thwarted,”
In addition, AH&LA is offering members six complimentary ADA Webinars to provide in-depth and timely information from experts on various aspects of the regulations and accessibility standards.
Offered in partnership with the ADA National Network, each session is 90 minutes, allowing 60 minutes for the presentation and 30 minutes for questions. The Webinars, which run February 15 – March 21, are free for members and $199 for nonmembers.
If you’re not currently an AH&LA member, click here to learn about joining.
Serving the hospitality industry for a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom-line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.
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