A couple of companies ago, I travelled for business a bunch, but then I went to work for the telecom company, and didn’t travel at all, and then I got laid off, so I didn’t travel at all.
Now I’m taking my first trip with my new employer, attending a meeting in California with three colleagues. Today I got my itinerary, and started checking.
Called the airline, that went pretty well (although of course, they didn’t know where the movable armrests are).
Called the hotel (Best Western Huntington Beach). Why yes, they have accessible rooms. Well, no, they can’t block the room for me, there are only two. Why no, the accessible rooms do not have roll-in showers, only tubs. Why no, they’ve never heard of a shower chair – would I like the number to call to cancel my reservation?
Instead, I asked for the manager. I asked him why his staff was turning away business. I asked him if he had a plastic chair he could put in the tub. I asked him if he would rent or buy a shower chair for me and future guests.
He grudgingly allowed that he would ask housekeeping to check if a plastic chair would fit in the tub, and that I should call back (Mr. Manager, you should be calling me back).
I spent the evening calling hotels in Huntington Beach so I will have a list to present to our administrative assistant tomorrow when I tell her I can’t stay at that hotel. Hopefully she will move all four of us; I’ll be sure and tell the manager he lost FOUR room reservations for two nights by not being accessible.
Edited 2004.03.05 to add: Yessss!! Everyone out of the pool, and over to the Hyatt!
I called Mr. Best Western Manager back yesterday, as he requested, and somehow he was not there and has not found the time in his busy schedule to return my call.
Edited on 2004.03.06 to add: Yesterday I sent a note to Best Western’s corporate customer relations department about the situation. Approximately 15 minutes after the email left, Mr. BW Manager called me back to tell me he had gotten hold of a shower chair for my use and hoped I would be staying there. The right thing, a little too late.