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Over the past six months, this column has focused mostly on hospitality technologies and issues that were triggered by COVID-19. Innovation has flourished during that time, from both established industry technology providers and from startups. At last count I had identified nearly 300 startups in the space since the beginning of the year, some of them with very interesting technologies.

As outlined in our previous article, cleanliness is dominating the headlines within the hotel industry, with a number of press releases on new initiatives from all the major chains. The landscape has transformed quickly, to help keep up with the standards this article will summarise the basic principles of cleaning and sanitisation of guest rooms and how that can be achieved quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

Decreasing Stress
Posted: 09/14/2020

Stress does not come without your invitation. It is self-induced by our perspectives of what is occurring in our lives. We all have stress, and the less of it, the more happiness you experience. Life is about living day to day.

When you are going to search “blog topic ideas”, it will not give you the interesting ones. The web is occupied with companies that have bigger budgets than you and can churn out the content every day. And if you are going to put your time into creating and promoting a blog post, and hope to get results, you need to figure out what you are best suited when it comes to the blog topics. So here is what the most recommend:

Writing this column every two weeks typically takes me on a journey of discovery. I learn about innovations, find new technologies, and look at a wide diversity of products. Inevitably this involves a lot of web research to identify both core technologies and applications, and the different vendors offering solutions.



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ADA Compliance: Is Your Website in Violation?

02/10/2016
by Nimesh Dinubhai
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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