Reservations Please: Ensuring access for customers with disabilities

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Customers with disabilities are a growing market in the hospitality industry. Millions of people with disabilities regularly travel, shop, and eat out with family and friends. According to Census 2000, approximately 20.9 million families in this country have at least one member with a disability. An Open Doors Organization study estimated in 2003 that diners with disabilities would spend $35 billion in restaurants that year and the number was expected to grow and it has. The study also found that more than 75% of people with disabilities report that they eat out at restaurants at least once a week. Furthermore, The New York Times reported that spending by travelers with disabilities exceeds $13.6 billion annually. These statistics alone make the business case for ensuring access for customers with disabilities. Join this session to hear more about what the hospitality industry is doing to serve this market and their experiences doing so.


Ronald Pettit, Access Manager , Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.,

Laurel Van Horn, Research Director, Open Doors Organization (ODO)