Hotel Online Special Report

 Microtel Inn & Suites ‘Opens Doors’ 
To Travelers with Disabilities
ATLANTA, May 24, 1999 – Microtel Inn & Suites is expanding initiatives to better serve travelers with disabilities as it becomes the only budget chain to implement the training program known as Opening Doors® nationwide.  The first training session will be held on May 26 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Microtel Inn & Suites at 1840 Corporate Blvd. at the corner of Buford Highway in Atlanta with general managers from Microtels around the country. 
Opening Doors®, developed by W.C. Duke Associates of Woodford, Va., will further develop the chain’s customer service so that staff is better able to respond to the needs of travelers with disabilities by practicing “attitude accessibility.”  Opening Doors® emphasizes on-site training that uses actual wheelchairs, blindfolds, earplugs and taped hands to enable employees to experience first-hand what it is like to maneuver through a hotel with a disability.  It teaches practical skills covering everything from what to do if an employee does not understand what a guest with a speech impairment is saying, to the use of service dogs. 

Mike Leven, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Franchise Systems (Nasdaq: USFS), franchisor of Microtel, commented, “We want Microtel to be the preferred hotel chain for travelers with disabilities.  Because all our hotels are newly constructed, we are in the unique position to truly serve the needs of these travelers.”  Microtel is the fastest growing chain of all newly-constructed, budget hotels in the U.S. 

“Now, with Opening Doors training, Microtel employees will be more knowledgeable and understanding of travelers with disabilities,” Leven continued.  “We can make all our guests more comfortable… and isn’t that what hospitality is all about?” 

New Web Site Features Special Section for Travelers with Disabilities 

Microtel’s newly-designed web site at features a special section dedicated to travelers with disabilities.  There is a reciprocal link with Opening Doors® and other sites, frequently asked questions and travel tips, and a virtual tour where visitors can actually view a 360-degree view of a typical Microtel ADA guest room. 

The site also includes an updated version of Microtel’s Survey for Travelers with Disabilities, a hospitality industry-first.  “The survey found that after accessible showers and large bathrooms, what respondents wanted most from their hotel was accurate information when calling ahead for reservations and helpful staff, sensitive to the needs of the disabled,” said Leven.  “This was strong impetus for us to put Opening Doors® in place systemwide.” 

Microtel’s future plans for travelers with disabilities include launching a directory with special icons that will appear at the bottom of each hotel’s listing in both the on-line and printed versions.  The chain will also implement the use of  “Accessible Room Description” brochures for specific accessible rooms so that travelers will know exactly what is offered, such as room dimensions, alert systems and parking availability. 

W.C. Duke Associates is an international leader in showing businesses how to comply with the human side of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and to realize the importance of customer service training in disability etiquette.  The organization was founded by Bill, Cheryl and son Paul Duke in 1991.  W.C. Duke Associates’ Opening Doors® video training programs in disability etiquette were developed by persons with disabilities.  For information, visit 

Atlanta-based U.S. Franchise Systems was formed in 1995 by Mike Leven, a 38-year veteran of the lodging industry, and Neal Aronson, former principle of a leading New York investment firm.  As of March 31, 1999, there were 510 Microtels open or in development. For reservations, contact 1-888-771-7171 or visit

Barbara Wiener
Vice President, Corporate Communications 
(404) 235-7400
Also See: A Healthy Attitude Toward Disabled Guests / Elizabeth Johnson / EI 
'Hotel Room of the Future' Combines Traveler Needs With Modern Technology / April 1999 

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