Not sure if your website is compliant with accessibility requirements—or if it even needs to be? Perhaps the best place to start is by taking a lesson from Domino's, who has been embroiled in a lawsuit for the past three years. Domino's attempted to block the lawsuit, but the case is now set to move forward after the Supreme Court denied Domino's request to hear the case. Domino's position: The ADA doesn't apply to websites and mobile apps since the law established in 1990 predates the birth of the modern web and no clear rules to follow regarding online accessibility exist.
According to featured speakers at the upcoming TravelAbility Summit, including an attorney who specializes in defending hotel clients with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, companies in the travel sector can learn a lot from Domino's recent ADA-related legal setback and others who are increasingly becoming targets for similar suits.
ADA web accessibility-related lawsuits increased 181% from 2017 to 2018, according to tracking by the accessible technology firm UseableNet, and, following the results of Domino's case, will certainly surge creating a new business risk for any travel company that sells online.
"These are warning signs for the travel and hospitality industry," says , an ADA defense attorney. "All travel-related businesses should understand the legal liability of having a public website that isn't accessible. It can cause a lawsuit."
Nate Lane, senior director of digital platforms, Travel Tripper & Pegasus, which specializes in helping hotels build accessibility into their websites, emphasizes the time is now to take the initiative. "Even before the Domino's ruling we looked at accessibility as something that was mandatory, because so many of the lawsuits had merit."
According to Jake Steinman, founder of the TravelAbility Summit, this is the first-ever conference to bring together the travel industry with product and service innovators dedicated to improving travel experiences for individuals disabilities. "The best justification to have an accessible website," says Steinman, "is that it is the most effective form of customer service anyone can have."
The conference, with the goal of making destinations accessible to everyone, will be held November 11-13, 2019, at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. Lane and Tubis are just two of the 35 featured speakers on a packed agenda that will include practical advice and insights on how travel companies can protect their businesses and reduce the risk of lawsuits. Travel professionals can register to attend the conference here.
Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.