Choosing an Accessible City
The first step in selecting an accessible venue is to determine a geographical location to host your event. There are several key considerations in selecting an accessible city. For example, are direct flights available? Transferring between flights can be difficult for people with limited mobility. Is there accessible transportation available in the city? Is there anything in the area that would make it difficult to maneuver, such as large hills or lack of curb cuts? Are there accessible restaurants, shopping, or attractions in the general area?
Selecting an Accessible Venue
Once you’ve identified potential cities in which to host the event, your next step will be to find an event property that will meet the baseline requirements of the American with Disabilities Act and the accessibility needs of your potential participants. Although the ADA requires event properties and hotels to be accessible, many are not, so you need to confirm for yourself. Reach out to hotels to request information regarding the accessibility of the event space, the public areas, and sleeping rooms. Discuss your access needs and gauge their willingness to work with you to meet them. If a hotel seems promising, conduct a site visit. Schedule a visit to walk through the hotel with the property sales manager and review all common areas, including public restrooms and meeting spaces, as well as the sleeping rooms designed to be accessible for guests with disabilities and Deaf guests, often referred to as ADA rooms.
Resources You Can Use
- Vera has developed a Pre-Site Visit Questionnaire to inquire about the accessibility features of a hotel. This is intended to be completed by a prospective property to help gauge if they have the infrastructure to meet the baseline requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Considerations for Selecting an Accessible Venue includes a series of questions to ask and measurements to take during a site visit to determine the property’s accessibility. Be sure to bring a tape measure and clip board so you can complete this document while touring the property.
- Guide to the ADA Standards. Developed by the U.S. Access Board, this online guide explains requirements in the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards, as well as best practice recommendations that exceed the minimum requirements. It also includes animations on wheelchair maneuvering, accessible bathrooms, and protruding objects that pose potential hazards to people with low vision. This information can be helpful to view before a hotel site visit.
- Accessible Information Exchange: Meeting on a Level Playing Field. The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice created this document for businesses hosting meetings that may be attended by people with disabilities. The publication addresses access considerations for the event space and meal set up, and includes a chart featuring common access barriers and suggestions for removing them.
- Hospitality and Disability. An initiative of the ADA National Network, this website provides information about promoting accessibility and opportunity for people with disabilities within the hospitality industry. Resources and trainings are designed for those working in the hospitality field or for those who might be engaging with professionals in the hospitality field to plan an accessible event.