Here’s something worth supporting–a hotel room search engine. On Room77.com, you can find and reserve specific hotel rooms. Travelers with disabilities of all kinds can get rooms that are close to the elevator, or on the ground floor, or with a kitchenette, or with wheelchair accessibility…whatever we most need. Though right now Room77’s database of rooms is small, and they don’t have searchability on all the preferences I’d prefer, I think their idea is brilliant and I want to see them grow and succeed.
To use Room77’s beta site (they’re not 100% live yet), on the home page select a hotel in the big search field. A new screen appears. On the left side of the screen, click the triangles to choose the type of room you want and to set your preferences. At this time, there are only four preferences–floor (high floor or lower floor), view, elevator (distance from), and connecting room. I hope that as time goes on, they’ll add more preferences–such as wheelchair accessible, importance of room size, and tub vs shower.
Right now it’s possible to use Room77’s minimal preferences to find rooms that suit certain hidden disabilities. A room in an urban hotel that’s on a high floor, does not have a view, and is far away from the elevator will be fairly quiet. A room that’s near the elevator on a lower floor will be quicker to access, even if the elevator’s on the fritz. The blueprints show relative rooms size, and when you click on a specific room, its square footage displays.
Once you’ve scoped out the rooms and found your favorites, click Request a Room up toward the top of the screen, beneath the hotel’s name and address. A pop-up window describes how to contact the hotel to request the room that best fits your needs, and provides you with the room numbers to request.
Fun fact that’s new to me–it’s best to call less than 48 hours before you arrive to request a specific room. That doesn’t mean you should wait till the last instant before making a reservation–in fact, go ahead and make reservations as far in advance as possible. But then, a day ahead, call again to request the specific room you want. This will work for hotels not covered by Room77. It will also help lots if you’re in a wheelchair and require an accessible room–do this, and you’re far less likely to arrive and find that the hotel’s given the accessible room away to an able-bodied guest.