www.calodging.com March/April 2022 5 What can you do? The first way to protect yourself is to update your own website to be ADA compliant if you haven’t done so already. The regulations require, among other things, that individuals with disabilities must be able to make reservations the same ways and during the same hours as all other guests—online, by email, by phone, etc. Those customers also must be provided with enough information about the accessibility features of the property and the room(s) so they can make their own decisions as to the suitability of the property for their particular needs. You also should ensure, to the extent possible, that your third-party listings, including your reservation system and OTA listings, are similarly updated. Because many OTAs are not providing property owners with the ability to have ADA-compliant listings, you may choose to entirely remove your listing from third-party sites as a preventive measure. That is likely not a viable economic option for most small properties, however, in which case you should consider the following steps: 1. Update all your various listings as much as possible. 2. Write to your third-party (OTA) representative, requesting they update their system to allow accommodation providers to include the necessary information to meet ADA requirements. 3. Continue to follow-up until you get a response. 4. Keep all your correspondence for future reference should the industry find it necessary to address this situation as a whole, in a similar fashion to the previous Expedia class-action lawsuit. These “virtual” access lawsuits are most likely not going away any time soon. We are currently seeing an increase of such cases in California, and we expect the trend to continue to the rest of the States as well. Therefore, now is the best time for you to take action, before any action is taken against you. Please be aware that, even should you update all your information, you might still face an ADA-related lawsuit. While we believe having your information updated to the greatest extent possible is in the best interest of all properties—and your customers—we would urge you to seek legal counsel from your attorneys if you have any questions about ADA compliance. In 1996, after almost a decade of solely working in the corporate world of software development and design, Lisa Kolb and her husband Mark moved to Colorado Springs to open a bed and breakfast. While doing software support and development for their bed and breakfast and a local bed and breakfast organization’s website, the need for a low-cost quality solution for the online marketing needs of other small businesses became glaringly apparent. In March 2002, Mark and Lisa formed Acorn Internet Services, Inc., now Acorn Marketing, which is currently providing services for hundreds of satisfied clients, with a customer base that is growing daily. Acorn Marketing specializes in Bed and Breakfast and Small & Independent Lodging Property Website Designs, Marketing, Hosting, Revenue Management, Education and so much more! Knowledge is power!