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Almost every hotel stay, for anyone, takes some planning and preparation. The list of preferred accommodations, the price and of course the location all need to be considered. However, for people with many types of disabilities and medical conditions, hotel booking may take much more care in the areas of planning and preparation in order to have a successful stay. Not only do people with disabilities and medical conditions need to take into consideration the things listed above, but accessibility accommodations need to be considered as well. When it comes to accessibility, hotels do not always know what they have to offer. Here are four tips that should be taken into consideration when booking a hotel to having a better chance of a successful stay.

Know Your Accessibility Needs

As a traveler, you are the only one who knows what you need–you know you best. But just as important as knowing your needs, knowing how to share what you need in a way that others will have a chance of understanding is extremely pertinent to potentially obtaining accessible accommodations during your stay.

One example is a roll-in shower. If you need a roll-in-shower rather than an ADA tub or walk-in shower, it is important to be able to explain what a roll-in shower is and how it differs from the tub and walk-in shower. Emphasize the word roll; ask if an office chair can roll directly into the shower. If needed, ask the person at the front desk to speak with housekeeping as housekeeping is often more knowledgable about what is offered in each room.

Another example of an accessible accommodation is needing the compatible space and bed clearance to be able to use a Hoyer lift. If you are bringing your Hoyer lift with you on your stay, know how much space is needed to utilize your lift properly. Ask the person at the front desk to measure the open floor space beside the bed and in the bathroom. Also, know how much bed clearance your lift needs to slide under the bed. Have housekeeping double-check that the bed is not on a solid platform and measure the clearance from the floor to the bottom of the bed. If the bed is on a solid platform, some people have used phone books to raise up the bed to the proper height. 

Call the Hotel Directly

Third-party and even direct hotel sites do not always express what accessibility accommodations are offered. Booking via a website also does not typically guarantee an accessible room upon arrival. It is okay to book online as a third-party site is typically where good deals take place. However, calling the hotel after booking on-line is a must. Even though it is an extra step, talking with a person at the hotel will provide you with a better understanding of what is offered; however, this does not always guarantee you an accessible room either. Take the conversation into consideration and if the person with which you are talking does not understand your needs, it is usually beneficial to book elsewhere.

Have Hotel Staff Document Your Accommodations 

When speaking with hotel staff, have that person document your accessibility needs and what type of accommodations you have requested. Distinguish if you need a mobility accessible room or a hearing accessible room and if you prefer an ADA tub or a roll-in shower. Have the hotel staff member note each accessibility accommodation(s) required. If your needs are not provided upon arrival, this documentation will provide you with a better chance of being “upgraded” to a room that better fits your specific needs.

Double Check & Advocate Your Needs  

Upon arrival, check-in and evaluate your room. Do not be afraid to share with the front desk if your room does not meet your needs. If specified in your reservations, the hotel must provide you with the accessibility accommodations for which you asked even if this means an upgrade to a more expensive room or even finding you a room at a different location (at no cost to you).

Almost every hotel stay, for anyone, takes some planning and preparation. The list of preferred accommodations, the price and of course the location all need to be considered. However, for people with many types of disabilities and medical conditions, hotel booking may take much more care in the areas of planning and preparation in order to have a successful stay. Not only do people with disabilities and medical conditions need to take into consideration the things listed above, but accessibility accommodations need to be considered as well. When it comes to accessibility, hotels do not always know what they have to offer. Here are four tips that should be taken into consideration when booking a hotel to having a better chance of a successful stay.

Know Your Accessibility Needs

As a traveler, you are the only one who knows what you need–you know you best. But just as important as knowing your needs, knowing how to share what you need in a way that others will have a chance of understanding is extremely pertinent to potentially obtaining accessible accommodations during your stay.

One example is a roll-in shower. If you need a roll-in-shower rather than an ADA tub or walk-in shower, it is important to be able to explain what a roll-in shower is and how it differs from the tub and walk-in shower. Emphasize the word roll; ask if an office chair can roll directly into the shower. If needed, ask the person at the front desk to speak with housekeeping as housekeeping is often more knowledgable about what is offered in each room.

Another example of an accessible accommodation is needing the compatible space and bed clearance to be able to use a Hoyer lift. If you are bringing your Hoyer lift with you on your stay, know how much space is needed to utilize your lift properly. Ask the person at the front desk to measure the open floor space beside the bed and in the bathroom. Also, know how much bed clearance your lift needs to slide under the bed. Have housekeeping double-check that the bed is not on a solid platform and measure the clearance from the floor to the bottom of the bed. If the bed is on a solid platform, some people have used phone books to raise up the bed to the proper height. 

Call the Hotel Directly

Third-party and even direct hotel sites do not always express what accessibility accommodations are offered. Booking via a website also does not typically guarantee an accessible room upon arrival. It is okay to book online as a third-party site is typically where good deals take place. However, calling the hotel after booking on-line is a must. Even though it is an extra step, talking with a person at the hotel will provide you with a better understanding of what is offered; however, this does not always guarantee you an accessible room either. Take the conversation into consideration and if the person with which you are talking does not understand your needs, it is usually beneficial to book elsewhere.

Have Hotel Staff Document Your Accommodations 

When speaking with hotel staff, have that person document your accessibility needs and what type of accommodations you have requested. Distinguish if you need a mobility accessible room or a hearing accessible room and if you prefer an ADA tub or a roll-in shower. Have the hotel staff member note each accessibility accommodation(s) required. If your needs are not provided upon arrival, this documentation will provide you with a better chance of being “upgraded” to a room that better fits your specific needs.

Double Check & Advocate Your Needs  

Upon arrival, check-in and evaluate your room. Do not be afraid to share with the front desk if your room does not meet your needs. If specified in your reservations, the hotel must provide you with the accessibility accommodations for which you asked even if this means an upgrade to a more expensive room or even finding you a room at a different location (at no cost to you).

When it comes to accessibility, hotels are a hit and a miss. Be proactive–be an advocate. Hotel rooms need to be accessible; the bed and shower need to be accessible–that is the whole reason behind staying at a hotel. In being an advocate for your own needs, there is a better chance that you will have a comfortable stay and hopefully–with enough persistace–hotels will realize that accessibility is a part of hospitality. 

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