Many hotels are not aware that the ADA imposes several requirements during the reservations process, including posting descriptions of the hotel’s physical accessibility features on its online reservations system. Starting around early 2018, serial ADA plaintiffs have filed significantly more lawsuits against hotels regarding this issue.
In addition to the many physical accessibility requirements at places of lodging (hotels), such as accessible parking and accessible guest rooms, the ADA also requires places of lodging to take certain actions during the reservations process to help individuals with disabilities obtain an accessible guest room. Specifically, places of lodging are required to do the following:
- Ensure individuals can reserve accessible guest rooms in the same manner and time as other guests;
- Provide descriptions of accessible features of the hotel and guest rooms as part of any reservations process (such as website booking);
- Ensure that the hotel’s accessible guest rooms are held for individuals with disabilities and not rented out to those not requesting an accessible room (unless all non-disabled rooms have been booked); and
- Once reserved, ensure that the accessible guest room is hard booked and not rented to anyone else.
These requirements derive from 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(e)(1), which is provided in full below.