How technology is boosting hotel accessibility

Innovations that help improve inclusion on show at Reatech fair

(ANSA) - The provision of accessible beds and bathrooms, ramps, elevators and stairlifts are some of the requirements that Brazilian legislation has set to ensure that hotels are accessible to everyone.
    But the obstacles that people who have physical, visual or intellectual disabilities have to face go well beyond these architectonic barriers when it comes to choosing a hotel for a holiday or a work trip. For example, reception desks are frequently much higher than a wheel chair and there are still not many facilities that have staff capable of using Brazilian sign language.
    People with sight limitations face a lot of problems, including that of getting map of the establishment. Technology, which has helped thousands of travellers and tourists all over the world, is creating solutions that enable people with disabilities to enjoy the comforts offered by hotels and B&Bs, regardless of their physical, sensorial, intellectual or mental limitations.
    The Brazilian company Sinal Link Accesibilidade, for example, has developed its "Kit SL basic" system, which features a clock with a vibration alarm, a volume amplifier for telephone calls, a wireless sensor for lights and sounds to signal that a telephone or bell is ringing. "The idea is for the kit to be available at the check-in desk to be taken to the room at the guest's request," said Marcos Alencar, Sinal Link's commercial director.
    The kit will be presented at the 16th International Fair of Technologies for Rehabilitation, Inclusion and Accessibility (Reatech), which takes place June 13-16 in Sao Paulo. Organized by Cipa Fiera Milano, the event will provide a showcase to present dozens of technological innovations designed to improve accessibility, with a special area devoted to the sector's startups.
    The technological solutions for the hotel sector that will be presented at Reatech respond to the demands set by the March 1 presidential decree on the Brazilian law for inclusion (LBI) for people with disabilities.
    The text, which regulates a law passed by former president Dilma Rousseff, stipulates that at least 5% of rooms must have accessibility solutions. That means that half of the 10% of rooms that by law must be equipped for the disabled must have solutions for people with physical disabilities. There are also high expectations in the sector of accessibility technology for hotels about another bill, which is currently being examined by the Lower House. Indeed, Bill 230/19 would see establishments unable to offer clients a room with accessibility solutions obliged to give a 10% discount to disabled guests. As for the decree that is already in force, it rules that all communal areas for guests - such as car parks, the reception, the lifts and corridors - must respect the same accessibility regulations as those for public structures. This also applies to other public areas in the hotels, such as conference rooms, shops and rest areas. "The hoteliers are getting ready but there is still lots to do," said Alencar. "The education minister, for example, monitors closely to make sure that high schools comply with the accessibility law, while an effective monitoring system for the hotel system is not yet in place".