Friday, October 11, 2013

Recommended Without Reservation

I have just had to make a lot of hotel reservations in the last few hours. we are embarking on a fairly long trip that will have us hopping from city to city and sometimes hopping from hotel to hotel within the same large city. This used to be such an arduous task. We'd have to call hotels and go over my accessibility needs and hope that whoever we spoke to understood that WE WEREN'T JOKING. We typically stayed at the Marriott chain because they have an ADA desk and if the reservationist isn't sure or can't guarantee a room, they put my call through to one of the accessibility specialists who spends time with me, getting to know what I want and then they call the hotel and ensure that the room we want is available. Nice.

Nice, but a bit cumbersome.

I always wanted to be able to just book on line like everyone else.

Well, my wish has come true. The website for booking rooms at the Marriott allows me to simply click a button called "room and accessibility options," I can select what I need and go from there. It lets me know if the room type is guaranteed and if it is, we're good to go. Sometimes when you click on the button, no options appear, that usually means that the exact room type you are looking for doesn't have any accessible options left. All that means though is that you go from 'King Bed' to 'Two Queens' (shut up) and click the options there. It's usually possible to find the kind of room that has what I need.


I booked 12 rooms, with the accessibility needs I need guaranteed AND I NEVER SPOKE TO ANYONE. All done quickly and easily on the computer. In other words, I book the room just like everyone else does. It's one of the few websites for booking anything that actually considers people with disabilities as potential customers.

Joe and I want to book some tickets to a couple of shows here in the city. I can't do it on line, I have to phone someone. This means that I can't do it at midnight. I can't do it at 4 in the morning. I have to do it during working hours, I have to wait on hold, I have to spend more energy than any other single person who will be going to the show.

This website, which allows me to tap, tap, tap away on my keyboard with dark of night around me, and end up with what I want and need from the hotel of my choice.

They consider that disabled people might just be a customer - wow.

12 rooms.

All accessible.


On the computer.



Andrea S. said...

And when you call to get tickets for the show, do you find that the first person to answer the phone doesn't have any clue what you're talking about? Which then means you have to insist on being passed along to someone who does know, or else ask them to get the information and get right back to you? And then this takes an age because they may need to call someone in another state to find out if their own theater will offer a sign interpreter!! Because that is what has often happened to me when I try to inquire about which performances of stage plays have sign language interpreters and, if so, where I need to be seated in order to see the interpreter.

Strangely enough, I don't get out to see that many plays. The last one I saw was Les Miserables years ago, which I had to see on my own without my partner because the only way I could see the interpreter was to reserve seats in the most expensive seats of the house and my partner didn't want to pay that kind of price for the both of us. They refused to give me a discount, apparently their rationale was that they weren't forcing me to choose those seats to see the performance (um, if that's the only place I can have access, then YES YOU ARE).

Yeah, sure would be nice if more places would make it easier for people with disabilities to reserve things on line just like everyone else.

Andrea S.

Louna said...

Progress! Seeing things change gives me hope.

Tamara said...

I wonder what motivated Marriott to do that. Even if it were profit-driven. Who pushed for it? Who had that vision? And why. Very cool.

Liz said...

On Saturday, I went to a show at a theatre local(ish) to me, and sat in a box on the second (elevator accessible) floor. The box was set with regular chairs that could be moved, and was accessed by a ramp. I thought of you immediately - because I had booked the tickets online.

All the side boxes had this type of seating arrangement

jami said...

I believe someone in the Marriot family had a disability. They are pretty well known here in Sam Francisco area for support in employing people with disabilities.

Penelope said...

I've found more and more hotels that offer that online, at least within the US. I know for sure I've either booked, or had the option to book, accessible rooms online for Candlewood Suites, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, and I think several others. I've also seen the option on several independent hotels (at least I think they were independent). I think there was a ruling in the US within the last few years that said that accessible rooms have to be available to book online if non-accessible rooms are bookable online. I believe it was also supposed to apply to websites likes Expedia, but I wouldn't trust those personally.

I hate trying to book event tickets. The thing that really gets me are baseball stadiums. Some let you book ADA seating online. Some make you call. Considering they all use log-in to the website for booking online, you'd think they'd be able to standardize the rest of it as well. But some places you have to call or wait for an e-mail back and some you can order online through pretty much the regular booking software.