Hotels are still flouting the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and losing business because their websites do not comply with the regulations, a new survey has revealed.
The DDA 2002 requires that the visually and hearing impaired are provided with "accessible websites". But online bookings operator iknow-UK has warned that a substantial proportion of hotel websites are still "in breach of the law".
Marcus Simmons, managing director of iknow-UK, said while the vast majority of hotels, bed and breakfasts and holiday cottage owners now had their own websites, a considerable number of them did not take into account disabled access when they designed their sites.
"The deadline for businesses to make sure their sites had the minimum requirement for disabled users was more than five years ago but many are still in breach of the law," he added.
Bringing sites up to date would mean improving the clarity of text and increasing the number of audio and video files for partially sighted users.
Alyson Rose, a Disability Rights Commission spokeswoman, said: "Websites will only be changed if individuals challenge them, but disabled people are voting with their feet and going to the sites that are tailored for them. Businesses are losing out."
Michael McGrath, disability champion for Hilton Hotels, UK and Ireland, said he hoped the issue of website accessibility would be resolved in two to three years' time.
With the number of disabled people in the country standing at more than 10 million, "there is an economic imperative to get this sorted," McGrath added.
By Christopher Walton