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Marriott Agrees To Better Accommodate Guests With Disabilities

Marriott Agrees To Better Accommodate Guests With Disabilities

Marriott will take steps to make it easier for people with disabilities to reserve accessible rooms under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.
(Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash)

One of the world’s largest hotel chains is agreeing to make big changes after federal prosecutors said that people with disabilities faced numerous barriers reserving rooms.

Marriott International will alter its reservations policies and practices under a deal reached this month with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado to resolve alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The move comes after the U.S. Attorney’s Office received numerous complaints from individuals with disabilities and its subsequent investigation found that Marriott’s centralized electronic reservations system lacked the minimum number of accessible rooms required by the ADA for many of its branded hotels, including properties where no accessible rooms were listed at all. In addition, prosecutors said that Marriott’s website did not include readily available information about accessible rooms and, prior to October 2022, people could not use third-party websites like Expedia.com or Booking.com to guarantee reservations for accessible rooms at Marriott-branded hotels.

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The allegations stemmed from a 2010 Justice Department regulation known as the Reservations Rule that clarified that the ADA requires hotels to provide reservations for accessible rooms on an equal basis with other rooms. A separate rule known as the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which was also updated in 2010, mandates that hotels provide a minimum number of accessible rooms and offer choices of the types of accessible guest rooms.

Under the agreement, Marriott will pay a $50,000 civil penalty. Marriott-branded hotels will be required to accurately list their accessible rooms in the company’s centralized electronic reservations system and this information will be made available to major third-party hotel reservations systems. Hotel websites will list their inventory of accessible rooms in a single location.

Marriott is also agreeing to make more accessible rooms available for reservation through its rewards system, the company will train its call-center employees on handling requests for accessible rooms and it will track complaints from guests about issues with reserving accessible rooms. Meanwhile, Marriott-branded hotels will have to report whether they meet the ADA requirement for offering a minimum number of accessible rooms.

“Today’s agreement with Marriott International will significantly improve the experience for individuals with disabilities when they reserve accessible rooms at Marriott-branded hotels,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado Matt Kirsch when the settlement was announced earlier this month.

In the agreement, Marriott denied violating the ADA and did not admit liability.

“Marriott International has a long history of inclusion and welcoming all. We have cooperated with the Department of Justice to reach a settlement agreement and are committed to taking steps to improve reservation accessibility across the Marriott system through enhanced training, new processes, increased monitoring and collaboration with our distribution partners,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The settlement applies to reservations in the U.S. at the following hotel brands: AC Hotels by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Courtyard, Delta Hotels, Edition, Element Hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Four Points, Gaylord Hotels, JW Marriott, Le Méridien, The Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Residence Inn, The Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, SpringHill Suites, St. Regis, TownePlace Suites, Tribute Portfolio, W Hotels and Westin.

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