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Think about the moment when you first enter your hotel room. Look around: Does the room tell you anything unique about the hotel where you are staying? Or is it all beige walls and double beds with white covers, and you have to walk back outside and look at the sign on the hotel’s facade to even remember where you are?

Hotel guests commonly bring multiple devices with them during their stay. However, many hotel environments don’t provide easy access to charging outlets. This situation can lead to a guest feeling more than inconvenienced. A recent survey found almost 90 percent of people "felt panic" when their phone battery dropped to 20 percent or below.

Spam is one of the major problems that most hotel website owners face on regular basis. It is a bad practice used by spammers to persuade the page rank of a site.

GBTA recently partnered with AccorHotels to conduct a study investigating the role of loyalty in managed travel programs in Europe with the goal of understanding how loyalty programs currently fit within company travel policy and what opportunities may exist in the future.

People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 



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ADA Compliance: Is Your Website in Violation?

02/10/2016
Is your hotel website ADA compliant? If not, you could be in serious violation.
In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). At that time, the public Internet did not exist. But two landmark cases heightened oversight of government and advocacy groups, and set the precedent that public websites that offer a service need to comply with ADA standards.

In 2008, Target Corp. settled a class action lawsuit filed in California by the National Federation of the Blind, who claimed blind people could not access information on the retail site. In 2012, Netflix, an online video streaming service, settled a suit filed by the National Association of the Deaf and other plaintiffs in Massachusetts that led to online captioning on content provided by Netflix.

Today, ADA advocates and regulators include hotel websites as those requiring assistive technology for disabled browsers and prospective guests to access the sites. The ADA was strengthened in 2010 when it was updated with the “accessible design” regulations. Although the revision impacts hotel properties, technology is a category of awareness, including an accessible website on which all people can learn about your hotel and make a reservation.

According to the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, one in five non-institutionalized civilians in the U.S. have at least one disability. One in five is a huge number, and it is really not surprising that the ADA compliance regulations would finally come to play online for the public sector. 

In an opinion letter dated Sept. 9, 1996, The U.S. Department of Justice states:

“Covered entities under the ADA are required to provide effective communication, regardless of whether they generally communicate through print media, audio media or computerized media such as the Internet. Covered entities that use the Internet for communications regarding their programs, goods or services must be prepared to offer those communications through accessible means as well.”

Basically this means that the ADA doesn’t just apply to the physical world, but also to the cyberspace world as well. 

What does this mean to you?

If you are looking to create a new website or want to revamp your existing hotel website, please keep ADA requirements in mind. 

It is important to work with a web development team that is knowledgeable about not only what is new with the ever-changing technological advancements of web design, but also can 100 percent guarantee ADA compliancy to give you a stress-free hotel website. 

The cost of making a site ADA compliant does not have to be expensive. Building a new site is easier than retrofitting an existing site, but the key factor is the design team’s knowledge about accessibility. An ADA compliant website will have closed captions to videos, and include audio to descriptions. If an image is also used as a link, the alt tag must describe the graphic and the link destination.  The key, of course is to find a web design company that knows the ins and outs of creating the perfect site the first time around to save you money in the future.
 
These are just a drop in the bucket of technical additions that must be retrofitted into existing or added to all new websites. The good news is that hotels that implement these accessibilities on their websites can earn back the cost as well as new revenue from online bookings by disabled customers. Of course, your hotel will receive positive online feedback as well, which we all know goes a long way for repeat and future bookings. 

The most inexpensive way to create an award winning and profitable website is to do it right the first time. Take the time to do the research and increase your site to a whole new market waiting to book your next room!

About The Author
Nimesh Dinubhai
President
Websrefresh


Nimesh Dinubhai completed his studies in 2003 and launched Websrefresh to help businesses grow their ROI. He also owns two Arizona hotels, one of which earned the Historical Hotel Award in 2014.

 
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