Acorn Marketing

Important Information for Acorn Marketing PAYG Clients. Please read.

ADA Lawsuits continue to Rise – Are You Next?

Dear Acorn PAYG client,

As a PAYG (Pay As You Go) client you are paying Acorn Marketing to receive only the most basic services of hosting for your website / email. We would like to once again encourage you to join our Advantage Plan (Levels 1-5) in order to receive important industry information, training, education and monthly one-on-one assistance, as per our different Advantage Plan levels and pricing.

As a PAYG client you are missing out on information and assistance regarding topics such as the continued rise of ADA lawsuits, how to be prepared to stand up to one when you are targeted, not to mention so many other things that can and will affect your business and your bottom line.

Thus, we find ourselves in a dilemma.

Even though you are not paying for this information by way of joining our Advantage Plan program, we feel strongly that we need to make sure you are made aware of this situation that can cost you thousands of dollars. In reality, so much more than it would have cost to join our Advantage Plan services where we could have helped you be prepared for this and so much more.

Therefore, Acorn Marketing is offering, yet again, a FREE webinar on this topic.

Please see the webinar details at the end of this email.

We began telling all our clients on November 19, 2018 [READ ORIGINAL NEWSLETTER] that you must prepare for a potential ADA lawsuit.

If you joined Acorn after that date as a new client, and met with Lisa Kolb on your complimentary introduction call, this would have been discussed at that time. COVID-19 slowed the amount of cases being heard in the courts but that time has passed and we are now seeing lodging businesses all over the US receiving demand letters from attorneys, and actual filings of ADA lawsuits, whether physical or website, booking engine or OTA (online travel agency) based increasing yet again.

And it’s not these providers, who you are paying to provide you a service, that are named in the lawsuits...

It’s YOU!

It is your responsibility to do all you can to protect yourself and your business.

As this is so very important, we are reaching out again to our PAYG clients to urge you to make sure you are doing all that you can to meet ADA guidelines – not only to protect yourself from a lawsuit, but also to make your business accessible to those with disabilities. That means if you are NOT going to employ Acorn Marketing for assistance, you WILL HAVE TO hire an ADA expert and/or an ADA attorney to tell you what you need to do to prepare, and then do it.

Here are the basic things you need to understand:

First, your business is considered a public accommodation, and as such, your website must comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines.

The first question you must ask yourself: Are you required to provide an ADA Room?

If you have more than 5 (five) rooms for rent you are required to provide an ADA room unless you are able to provide and document a legal reason as per all the various ADA guidelines as to why you are exempt.  Note: Historical properties do not automatically make you exempt. You must read the guidelines, and/or use legal assistance to help you interpret them.

See Section 36.104: Place of public accommodation means a facility, operated by a private entity, whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following categories --

(1) An inn, hotel, motel, or other place of lodging, except for an establishment located within a building that contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and that is actually occupied by the proprietor of the establishment as the residence of the proprietor;

The second question you must ask yourself: If you are required to provide an ADA guest room, are you withholding this room(s) in your booking engine and OTA for a guest who needs an accessible room, until it is the last room in its type?

See Section 36.302 (e) (1):

(1) Reservations made by places of lodging. A public accommodation that owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of lodging shall, with respect to reservations made by any means, including by telephone, in-person, or through a third party –

(i) Modify its policies, practices, or procedures to ensure that individuals with disabilities can make reservations for accessible guest rooms during the same hours and in the same manner as individuals who do not need accessible rooms;
(ii) Identify and describe accessible features in the hotels and guest rooms offered through its reservations service in enough detail to reasonably permit individuals with disabilities to assess independently whether a given hotel or guest room meets his or her accessibility needs;
(iii) Ensure that accessible guest rooms are held for use by individuals with disabilities until all other guest rooms of that type have been rented and the accessible room requested is the only remaining room of that type;
(iv) Reserve, upon request, accessible guest rooms or specific types of guest rooms and ensure that the guest rooms requested are blocked and removed from all reservations systems; and
(v) Guarantee that the specific accessible guest room reserved through its reservations service is held for the reserving customer, regardless of whether a specific room is held in response to reservations made by others.

ADA guidelines apply not only to the physical property (individual room and entire property), but also to the website, the booking engine and any OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) with whom you are contracted.

If you haven’t taken steps to ensure that your website, booking engine, property, guest room and OTA is ADA compliant, and that you are communicating all these items clearly and appropriately in writing, to the public, we urge you to do so immediately.

Do not wait until you receive a lawsuit or demand letter to realize you should have upgraded to our Advantage Plan Program for this type of advanced assistance and so much more.

If you are confident that you have already taken care of your ADA compliancy issues, please ignore this email – but if you haven’t, it is imperative that you do what is needed to get your website, booking engine, OTA and property into compliance, or risk costly litigation and the stress that comes with such situations.

Please take our ADA Survey, and then attend our upcoming FREE ADA webinar for Innkeepers and Property Owners.

(ADA) American Disabilities Act Webinar

"Hello, I am Suing You"

Lodging properties across the country are being sued and the number of website accessibility lawsuits have increased over 200% since 2017. 

  • Have you taken the necessary precautions to prepare for a potential and possibly costly lawsuit?
  • There is the Physical side of ADA that you may or may not be exempt from. 
  • Historic properties are not automatically exempt from providing accessible amenities, though you may have specific, documented exemptions that apply to your property due to the historic nature of the property. 
  • Then there is the website side of ADA that NO ONE is exempt from. 
  • There are also other important ADA guidelines to be aware of regarding your Booking Engine, PMS, Online Travel Agency listings, and your requirement to retain your ADA room for use by a disabled person until it is the last room in its type.  

Join us for this information packed webinar to learn what steps you need to take to prepare for the possibility of being sued, and how to use online tools to test to see if your website and booking engine are compliant -- or not.

Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2022
Time: 9am PDT/10am MDT/11am CDT/Noon EDT




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