September 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September 1999 Current Issue
September 1999 ChecklistPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The following checklist was compiled with the help of Susan Sepe and William Hagood, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind, P.O. Box 88, Jefferson City, Mo. 65103


  • All meeting rooms, ballrooms, guest rooms, elevators, rest rooms and telephone banks should be identified with Braille signage.
  • All restaurants should provide a Braille menu to the attendee.
  • Do not mark guest rooms with a "vision-impaired guest" or similar sign to assist housekeeping. It can compromise the security of the guest.
  • Do not place the attendee in a guest room where the bathroom is equipped with bars, unless he requests it. The bars actually make it more difficult for him. Remember, he is sight-impaired, not immobile.
  • Ask the hotel front desk to place a small piece of cellophane tape on the end of the room key or to clip it with scissors, to indicate to the attendee which end needs to be swiped.
  • When asking for a signature at check-in, front desk staff should place the attendee's thumb on the signature card to indicate its location. Also, provide the front desk with signature guides, which are small squares of plastic that are placed directly above the signature line.

  • Always ask the attendee if he would like assistance being led to where he wishes to go (for instance, to his guest room). Do not just grab him by the arm and begin leading him.
  • To avoid confusion, always give directions from the attendee's perspective. Stand and face in the same direction as him.
  • Be precise when giving directions. To say "The taxi stand is just outside the lobby door, on the right" is confusing. Saying "Go through the lobby door, 50 feet ahead of you, and the taxi stand is 30 feet to your right" is more appropriate.
  • Describe the layout of the meeting and banquet rooms to the attendee when he arrives at them.
  • When serving a beverage during meal functions, wait staff should indicate to the atten- dee where the glass is placed.
  • Identify vision-impaired attendees to wait staff so they can give them a Braille menu or describe the meal being served.
  • Restaurant wait staff and checkout personnel should go over the bill, item by item, when presenting it to the attendee.
  • When giving change, place the money in the guest's palm and count out the denominations.
  • If a credit card is used to pay the bill, place a signature guide on the signature line. When returning the card, place it directly in the attendee's hand.

  • Never pet, talk to or distract the guide dog in any way. No matter how cute, remember the dog is "working" and, when distracted, cannot perform its duties properly.
  • When leading an attendee with a sight dog, stand on the opposite side of the person from where the dog is.
  • Guide dogs are allowed in all pubic spaces, including restaurants, meeting rooms, banquet rooms, etc.
  • In restaurants and banquet rooms, assign the attendee traveling with a guide dog to a table in an uncongested area. This will help prevent wait staff from tripping over the dog.
  • Advise the guest what area of the hotel's grounds are available for the dog to relieve itself.
  • Not all sight-impaired attendees are completely blind; for those who have some vision, it is extremely helpful if the area allocated for the dog to relieve itself is well lighted, for late-night last calls.
  • Be sure a lined, covered trash receptacle is placed nearby, and advise the guest of its location.

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