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Discrimination

Aberdeen
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22 posts
378 reviews
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Discrimination

Your web site (and those of most of the other agencies that you search for the best rates) do not make clear whether hotels have rooms equipped for the physically challenged, and does not make it possible to make a reservation and be assured that such a room is held for the customer's arrival.

The only alternative is considerable web searching, and then phoning the hotel direct to make a reservation. This usually results in an offer at rack rate, i.e. far more than the best rate available online.

Surely this is discriminatory in terms of what is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar legislation in my own country (U.K.)?

What steps are you taking to ensure that the physically challenged are not disadvantaged and can use your web site to obtain the same advantage as others?

Denver, Colorado
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731 posts
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1. Re: Discrimination

Hi IanAberdeen,

Thanks for sharing your feedback! At TripAdvisor, we serve a great number of members and readers from many backgrounds and places in the world. We aim to provide a research tool that is useful for all travelers. Our Community Mission and guidelines for using the various features on our site help to ensure that members are able to share information in a friendly, non-discriminating, productive manner.

We understand that members who travel with disabilities may have different concerns and unique questions when planning a trip which is why we added a forum specific to that subject. If you haven't checked it out yet, it can be found at

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g1-i12336-Travelin…

Thanks for participating in the forums and taking the time to share your thoughts!

Best regards,

Louise

TripAdvisor Support Team

Aberdeen
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22 posts
378 reviews
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2. Re: Discrimination

Adding a forum does not address the issue.

However, it is interesting to see a recent post (5 June) announcing that Hotels.com and Expedia are bowing to legal pressure to modify their web sites.

Perhaps TripAdvisor should learn the lesson and act before it and the room consolidators that it searches for rates come under the same legal pressure.

I repeat my question: What steps are you taking to ensure that the physically challenged are not disadvantaged and can use your web site to obtain the same advantage as others?

Torremolinos, Spain
Level Contributor
13,990 posts
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3. Re: Discrimination

Hi Ian

Well i am not sure if you are aware, but Expedia owns TA, so i am sure whatever changes they make will be filtered down the line.

A very good friend of mine is disabled and he uses this site frequently to find Hotels etc and he searches the area, finds a selection of Hotels and then when he has whittled it down to a few alternatives he contacts the Hotel direct to enquire about facilites (just as I would to contact the Hotel to enquire about anything that may not be listed within the description, i.e. sunbed availability, night time entertainment etc). Once he has found the one that suits his requirements he makes his reservation stipulating his requests. He finds it easy.

I understand of course it would be much easier to have all the information contained within the descritive of the Hotel, but with many thousands listed on here how would such a mammoth task be undertaken?

For new additions/reviews etc then yes, the information could be added with ease, but for existing Hotels? I would have thought it would be very time consuming to say the least.

CB

Miami, Florida
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1,824 posts
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4. Re: Discrimination

Hi IanAberdeen,

Thanks for your feedback. In the U.S. most hotels are required by the ADA to be accessible and to have a certain number of accessible rooms, but finding out which rooms these are and ensuring that the room you book is accessible can be frustratingly difficult. Of course in countries without laws such as those in the U.S. and U.K. it can be hard to even find a hotel that is accessible at all.

We appreciate the unique challenges travelers with disabilities face, which is why we created the Traveling with Disabilities forum Louise mentioned above. You can also find more information about hotels by asking in the TripAdvisor forum for the destination you're researching. The TripAdvisor community is well-informed and very helpful, so you're likely to get the information you need. You can also try looking at reviews for specific hotels, and you may find that using the site search for terms such as "wheelchair accessible hotel Boston" will help you narrow your choices.

As Cheekybadger explained above, it is exceedingly difficult for any website to collect specific, accurate information on accessible rooms in hotels; nonetheless you will find a wealth of helpful resources here on TripAdvisor. Please note, though, that TripAdvisor does not accept bookings, so it would be impossible for us to ensure that the room you book is accessible. I believe all of our booking partners, however, allow you to submit special requests (such as wheelchair accessibility), but for questions regarding booking you would need to contact the booking site itself.

Thanks again for this feedback. Rest assured we at TripAdvisor will continue to work to make travel planning easier for all travelers.

Dan

Aberdeen
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22 posts
378 reviews
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5. Re: Discrimination

I was aware that TA is linked to Expedia.

The analogy with your friend checking for leisure facilities misses the point. Making a reservation through an online usually service offers a discounted rate, but at present the online services do not offer the certainty of reserving at that discounted rate a room that is specially equipped for the physically challenged. If anyone speaks to the hotel directly, they are usually offered only the rack rate. This is discriminatory, and the online services such as yours are complicit in this discrimination.

Having to deal with a large number of hotels and online services would not be an acceptable excuse for non-compliance with a legal requirement. Ask your lawyers.

You will have to amend your computer systems, AND make sure that the online services that you search do the same. The hotels will fall in line, although some will probably have to be told to distinguish clearly between access to the building and having specially equipped rooms (which many currently fail to do explicitly on their web sites).

Instead of trying to offer me glib excuses, I suggest you get an action plan in place.

Torremolinos, Spain
Level Contributor
13,990 posts
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6. Re: Discrimination

And it's over to you TA :D

*scratches head*

CB

Scotland, United...
Destination Expert
for South Ayrshire, Glasgow
Level Contributor
14,883 posts
311 reviews
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7. Re: Discrimination

Ian, I might have missed something here, but you do realise that Tripadvisor is not an online booking service right?

As a search tool for finding out as much information as possible about hotels, resorts, festivals, culture, restaurants etc it can be invaluable, especially when the enthusiastic forum community are at hand to help as much as possible. Why not give the forum a chance to help with your enquiries and see how it goes. Who knows you may come to love it as much as thousands of others. For all its faults, I wouldn't go anywhere these days without consulting Tripadvisor or the forums first. For better or worse, its the best travel site there is in my opinion, and they have at least acknowledged your concerns here as well as added a specific forum.

8. Re: Discrimination

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Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 09 June 2009, 18:35
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
1,824 posts
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9. Re: Discrimination

Hi Ian,

Thanks for sharing your concerns. I first want to clarify that cheekybadger is a TripAdvisor member, like you, and does not work for TripAdvisor. Also, just to clarify, cheekybadger's advice does seem helpful. He was suggesting that one could contact a hotel to find out whether they had accessible rooms and then could request such a room when booking online -- I don't think he was saying that you should just book through the hotel rather than taking advantage of better rates you may find online.

Also, I'm sorry if you feel that anyone who has responded to this thread has offered you "glib excuses." I'm not sure if you were referring to my post, but I do want to clarify, once again, that while I don't think there's any question that it's truly important that a traveler with disabilities be able to reserve a room that will meet his or her needs, TripAdvisor does not accept hotel bookings and we do not handle room reservations. That is not an excuse; it is just a fact. Also, while I cannot speak for our partner booking sites, I do believe -- as I said above -- that many or all of them already offer the ability to make special requests with regards to accessibility.

Finally, as I mentioned above, there is a wealth of helpful information regarding accessibility already on TripAdvisor, and anyone can tap the tremendous knowledge and helpfulness of the TripAdvisor community just by asking a question in the forums. Incidentally, it is obvious from the number of conversations in the fairly new Travelers with Disabilities forum that a great many TripAdvisor members are interested in travel information for people with disabilities, and we will of course continue to work hard to better meet the needs of travelers with disabilities, and of all travelers.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Dan

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary
Level Contributor
26,217 posts
86 reviews
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10. Re: Discrimination

When I'm searching for a hotel on TA, I can specify all sorts of search criteria: price, star rating, even availability of a swimming pool or free high-speed internet. At a minimum, TA members should also be able to see if a property offers wheelchair accessible rooms. Surely it's no harder to put in that information than it is to state whether there is free wifi available!