Your hotel has a moral obligation to plan for guest with disabilities. It is even required for your hotel if you plan to go in for classification.
I have seen hotels being built and then during the final classification meeting being asked to redo the accessible room because it did not meet certain specification.
What does the document on classification say?
There is a mandatory requirement that all hotels intending to undergo a classification must have at least 1 accessible room.
The room should have low height furniture, low peep hole, cupboard with low cloth hangers, audible and visible (blinking light) alarm system and door bell.
The bathroom doors must have a clearance of a minimum of 90 cm to allow the wheel chair to pass in effectively.
The main door should be at least 1 meter to allow wheel chair access. Additionally all public area should be accessible by wheel chair. At least 1 specialty restaurant should be accessible.
All star category hotels should have a public restroom for disabled guest. The minimum door width should be 90 cm to allow wheel chair access.
What else can you do to plan for guest with disabilities?
While these are mandatory for getting classified, there are many more things you can do to make your hotel more accessible to people with disabilities. Websites, braille,
While you may think of guest experience from the time they enter the hotel, your guest experience starts way before that.
By making your website compliant to serve the needs of differently able guest, you can show that you care. Guidelines like these are available for website design that can help you build your site.
Your reservation team should also be sensitive to the needs of guest with disabilities and the facilities available in the hotel to take care of them during their stay.
Train your team to be empathetic to guest needs. There is no one solution for disability. Just like any other guest, every disability needs a different solution.
Every guest may also need varying level of support based on their personal requirement.
Make sure to train your team to handle each guest as an individual rather than as a group.
Whenever possible, to make guest comfortable, provide a complete room orientation, specially if it is their first time to the hotel.
If possible, assign a single point of contact to the guest so that they feel comfortable.
You can take care of guest with disabilities in your hotel just by being a little sensitive to their needs.
Classification norms are just the basic guidelines. You can do better than the minimum guidelines. Check out this article for detail
It is also not a set and forget it effort. Training your team to consistently practice empathy is a ongoing task that will help you take care of this segment of travelers.
And if you are interested in training your team, do check out our training plans for hotels