Making your hotel website accessible is not easy. There are things that are out of your control, third-party booking engines, third-party software, and an ever-changing legal landscape. While it may not be possible for even the top experts to protect you from lawsuits it is important to make your best effort to understand the law and work to make the world more inclusive for all.
- Your website code should meet a reasonable standard of compliance with the WCAG 2.1 AA standards.
- Just because your website met the code when originally designed, does not mean it still meets accessibility standards, your site should be reviewed & tested at least quarterly.
- You should describe the accessibility or lack of accessibility of more than just your rooms; this includes but is not limited to: The parking lot, the main entrance, how to get to any amenities, all the hotel amenities, ballrooms, business centers, etc.
- That accessibility toolbar that you were sold for $200 or less per year… is a nice feature and shows a good faith effort but the toolbars alone have not protected others in lawsuits.
- Your site needs not only to cater to the visually impaired but all covered under the ADA.
- The above is true not only for your website but for your listings on TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and any website where bookings for your hotel can be made.
While it may not be possible to make your site 100% accessible to all as there are so many grey areas and some things are out of your control. The law states ‘reasonable standard of compliance’. There is no federal law, rather the law changes based on case law and there are a lot of grey areas. All you can do is your best to focus on inclusion for all. Legal disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.
Want to learn more? Read about the specifics of the law, how to make your site accessible, and learn about a tax credit to lighten the load here