American hotel and Lodging Association (AH & LA) is a hospitality industry which has been in existence for more than a century. Its headquarters is in the U.S, Washington D.C. It provides communications support, and provision of focused advocacy and educational resources for the hospitality industry. It is an association catering for hotel owners, chains, REITs, franchisees, independent properties, management companies, industry suppliers and also state hotel associations.
American hotel and Lodging Association is currently working on the endorsement of the legislation, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The title III reforms of the ADA covers the private businesses that are open to the public. It specifies the clear rules for correcting and identifying ADA access violations before allowing any litigation. If a business still fails to correct a given violation to the legislation even after being given a notice or a defined period of time, then the ADA provides an option for seeking legal resource(Recovery,2007).
The Americans with Disabilities Act which was passed in 1990 was enacted as a law by the US Congress in 1990. This was after the National council on Disability recommended the enactment of the act in 1986. In 1990, President George Bush signed it into law(Recovery, 2007). ADA is a civil rights law which is meant to protect the American citizens against discrimination which is based on disability. It includes both mental and physical disabilities. It also does not only focus on the severe disabilities as a condition does not need to be severe to be a disability (Recovery, 2007). It goes by what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission term as a disability. These include, diabetes, HIV, cancer, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, major depressive disorder, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder and many more (D’Aiuto, Smith & Paludi, 2010).
This legislation exempts other types of disabilities such as pedophilia, exhibitionism, kleptomania among others so as to prevent the purpose of the statute from being abused(Recovery, 2007).
The title III of the regulation which American hotel and Lodging Association strongly supports is about commercial facilities and public accommodation. It states that no individual should be discriminated against on the basis of disability. This is regarding full enjoyment of facilities, services, goods or accommodation by any person who leases, operates or owns a public accommodation facility. These places may include; education, dining, transportation, lodgings and recreations. The Title III of the ADA states that all new facilities that are under construction, alterations or modifications must be fully compliant with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) after the July 1992(Recovery, 2007).
This issue came to be important to the industry as it has increased the number of clients. This is because the persons with disabilities are well catered for now than before and are thus free to enjoy without any inconveniences. This also increases their revenues thus increased profits. This has enabled the industry to grow at a faster rate than it did before the regulation was passed.
AH & LA recommends that the hotel industry should make it a priority to ensure that each and every guest enjoys unfettered access to all the hotel facilities according to the ADA. This is one of the many reasons that the AH & LA supports strongly the ADA regulation. The reason to this is so as to do away with discrimination and enable the disabled to enjoy the same services the rest of the population enjoys. They also advocated for this not only for convenience to the disabled but also to increase revenue in the industry(American Hotel and Lodging Association, 2008).
This issue has had a lot of impact on the hospitality industry. These include;
- Creation of accessible reservation systems. The guest rooms are to be accessible at the places of lodging. This is so especially when the reservations have been made by means of telephone, internet, in-person or through a third person.
- The hospitality facilities are to be equipped with new structural and also communication related requirements to be used in the automatic teller machines.
- They are also required to have easy access to the spas and pools. For the pools, a pool lift or a sloped entry is required. The spas have to be fitted with a transfer system, a pool lift or a transfer wall.
- The persons with disabilities have to be able to make reservations to accessible rooms in the same manner as those who are not in need of the accessible rooms.
- 60% of the facility’s entrances need to be accessible. This is as compared to the 50% in the previous standards(American Hotel and Lodging Association, 2008).
These are some among the many impacts that the regulation has had on the hospitality industry.
This new regulation put across new significant obligations or rules that have to be followed by lodging places and hotels. These include the detailed requirements set aside for the reservations. For the first time, it has set aside the requirements for the accessibility for the recreational activities such as spas and swimming pools. It is important that the employers and owners of the facilities review their policies to as to ensure compliance with the regulation. They have to make sure that their regulations are in line with the law and that their buildings are friendly to the persons living with disability.