I’ve always admired Microtel’s commitment to access. Granted, under the law they have to include a certain number of accessible guest rooms in their properties, but in many cases they go well beyond the letter of the law. For example, Microtel even includes access information on their website. Now that’s real customer service.
In fact, Microtel recently surveyed disabled travelers about their access needs at the annual World Congress & Exposition on Disabilities. All of the respondents were wheelchair-users who traveled largely by car (or van) and took several trips a year.
What did the survey show?
When the respondents were asked about how hotels can improve their services, one of the top answers was, “By being more sensitive to the needs of the disabled, and more understanding about their needs.”
And when queried about the factors that most influence their lodging decisions the respondents listed, “hotel rates”, followed by “ADA features”, “helpful employees” and “room type”.
According to the survey, it appears disabled travelers are looking for more than just grab bars and wide doorways. They want customer service, sensitivity, understanding and good rates — the same things that able-bodied travelers want. Many companies (like Microtel) have discovered this and in the end they will be the companies to get the lion’s share of the leisure dollars from our aging population.
They say you can’t legislate attitude; however travel and tourism providers that truly want to gain more of the baby boomer market will find a way to do it — at least among their employees.
We live in an evolving word, and at least right now as far as access and attitudes go, it appears to be evolving in the right direction. Let’s hope other companies follow Microtel’s lead.