About 900 hotels nationwide will get an accessibility overhaul under an agreement struck between Hilton Worldwide Inc. and the Justice Department on Tuesday.
The deal comes in a federal lawsuit filed by the Justice Department alleging the hotel chain failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically, federal officials said that many Hilton properties built since 1993 do not meet accessibility standards. They also cited problems with reserving accessible rooms via Hilton’s online and telephone reservation systems.
Under the agreement, Hilton will ensure that all properties meet accessibility standards and include accessible rooms at all class levels. A national ADA compliance officer will be appointed and employees will be trained to understand their responsibilities under the law. What’s more, each property will have an on-site staff member tasked with handling ADA complaints. Nationally, Hilton will beef up its reservations system and improve its websites to allow individuals with disabilities the opportunity to guarantee reservations just like anyone else.
“The ADA protects the right of people with disabilities to stay in accessible hotel rooms, and to reserve those hotel rooms through the same convenient systems as everyone else,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division. “Persons with disabilities who travel for pleasure or business must be able to count on getting the accessible room they reserved, and the hotel must provide the choice of amenities that everyone comes to expect from a major national hotel chain like Hilton.”
The agreement applies to all Hilton hotels as well as Hilton-owned brands including Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites, the Waldorf Astoria and Home2Suites.