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Why Did The Hotel Put You in an Accessible Room When You Didn't Ask For One?

May 22, 2014 at 12:16 PM | by | ()

An accessible bedroom at the Element Las Vegas. It looks quite the same as the others but we felt too guilty staying in it when we didn't need it. Also, there wasn't enough counter space in the bathroom.

Fresh off of teaching how to book a hotel room like a boss, our former front desk manager has returned to answer a common hotel problem--getting placed in an accessible hotel room when you didn't request an accessible hotel room. Here's his take:

This is something we faced quite a few times at the hotel in Washington, DC where I worked. As a historic property, each of our rooms was a different size (some were very small) and we had to make the best use of our accessible rooms because they were bigger.

Accessible rooms should always be kept open for people who really need them but on occasion, hotels will rent these rooms out to others. The reason being is hotels often have a misconceived notion that an accessible room is preferred by guests because of its larger size. But what hotels don't realize is that there are some significant drawbacks to an accessible room. Like, not having a bathtub if someone wanted one, or having an unusually high toilet.

It truly takes a very well-versed hotel staff to understand and anticipate a guests "actual" needs. i.e. you may be willing to forgo a larger size room, but you really do need a bathtub or more counter space at the sink. Size doesn't always matter, but amenities always do.

So, aside from the hotel assuming you'd just like the extra space, here are some other reasons why they would assign this type of room:

1. The room that was blocked for you was accidentally removed and you were given the best available by the time you arrived. (I cannot tell you how many times a front desk agent has just unblocked a room type without reading the comments on the screen!!) When you did arrive they had to scramble to get you the room that you asked for and the accessible room was the best they could do.

2. It could also just be that you arrived late to the hotel and since they were fully booked, they gave you the best they had.

3. You are a member of the hotel's loyalty program and they had to honor your room request. Given that they were sold out, the accessible room is the best they had and which also honored your initial room type request (king or double double.)

4. You actually booked an accessible room. Check your reservation again. Sometimes, hotels put the accessible rate first because it is the cheapest. So you may have booked the cheapest rate without realizing that it was an accessible room. (Ed. note: This actually happened to us the other week. We took a lesser room category over spending the night in an accessible room.)

What this all comes down to is the property really being able to understand the "accessible"' room and what its purpose is. Most hotels just consider it one of their regular rooms but it is actually far from it. These rooms were specially designed to accommodate disabled travelers with different layouts and amenities. And they should remain open for those who really need it. But alas, an empty room is an empty room and hotels will always take the chance to fill it.

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[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Don't forget about Condo Hotels

The owner of that accessible room deserves an equal amonut of revenue to the same non-accessible room type (the owner may not have known it was accessible when he/she bought it).