In our final installment of this series on digital accessibility for the travel and hospitality industry, we look at ground transportation, hotels, and entertainment. Please click here for Part One and Part Two.
Booking rental cars, taxis, ride shares, trains, and busses come with many of the same difficulties as booking air travel:
- Websites or apps that do not work with screen readers
- Important information written on images (and missing alt text)
- Date picker fields that are not accessible without using a mouse
- PDF schedules that are not tagged properly
- Physical accessibility information not listed on the website
- Access to vehicles for service animals (guide dogs, etc.)
- …and many more.
Eli needs to book an airport shuttle that can accommodate his motorized wheelchair. If he’s lucky to find a shuttle service with an accessible website, it is often impossible to determine which shuttles can safely accommodate his wheelchair. He often has to call the shuttle service to ask, getting passed from one customer service representative to another before someone understands his request. Then, he must specifically ask before he is given the “web-only” special rate for the trip.
Hotels & Other Lodging
When reserving a hotel room or other lodging, numerous problems arise for people with disabilities. An accessible website would allow travelers to:
- read information about the hotel
- hear descriptions of the rooms to go along with photos
- view room rates and available dates
- book a stay (if applicable)
- review their reservation (if applicable)
- contact customer service by email, phone, or (accessible) chat
Many hotels do not provide information—or enough information—on physical accessibility on their website. One friend of Level Access was told her hotel was ADA compliant only to find out that she needed to ride the freight/trash elevator to get her wheelchair from the lobby to the street. Accessible? Yes (technically). Great customer service? Not by a long shot.
I often book hotels on discount sites and have arrived at hotels to discover they booked me in an accessible room. I always ask to move to a standard room but am concerned my discount site reservation rendered the room unavailable for someone who truly needed it. Surely there could be a way to leave the accessible rooms off the block of rooms delivered to the discount websites? – E. Foley, Level Access Marketing Content Manager
Entertainment, Tours & Activities
Whether you run a theater, tour guide service, or other activity frequented by tourists, it is important for your website to be accessible to travelers with disabilities. On your website, you should also detail the services that you have available on-site for patrons with disabilities. This is as easy as adding a page to your website titled Accessibility. Don’t forget to include an email address or phone number where travelers can get more information.
Bottom Line: “Are We Going to Get Sued?”
Short answer: Probably, but it’s impossible to predict when.
Long answer: General ADA Title III litigation grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.4% from 2013 to 2016. ADA Title III litigation relating to digital accessibility is rising even more rapidly, with what we model as a CAGR of 172.6% from 2013 to 2016. The travel and hospitality industry is one of the industries targeted by litigation, so it is best to have an experienced technical organization like Level Access audit your systems and prioritize an accessibility remediation plan to mitigate your legal risk. Once you integrate accessibility into your software development lifecycle (we can help with that, too!), it’s easy to stay compliant.
Want to Learn More?
Join Mitchell Evan, our in-house rock star on all things accessibility for the travel and hospitality industry, for a free on-demand webinar addressing all of the important digital accessibility regulations that affect the industry, and what companies can do to minimize legal risk and maximize the number of travelers they serve.