Travelers who are deaf or hearing-impaired can now make use of a cool new free service at Room Mate Hotels, a Spain-based chain with 22 properties in cities around the world, including Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Florence, and, in North America, New York, Miami, and Mexico City.
Developed in collaboration with a company called Comunicados en Lengua de Signos, Room Mate's new program offers real-time sign language interpretation for any visitor who needs it.
The service works like this: At reception, those guests are given a computer tablet equipped with video conferencing capability. Hotel employees then make a video call to a center staffed with professional sign language interpreters who can translate what the Room Mate staff member is saying into either international or Spanish sign language for the guest watching the tablet screen.
Tablets are available for check-in and checkout, as well as for any requests made throughout a visitor's stay.
You can watch how this might look in person in the promotional video below.
Room Mate expects to implement the program in all of its Spanish hotels by the end of the year, with international properties to follow in early 2018. Presumably, U.S. properties will translate services into American Sign Language.
In a press release, the company calls its instant sign language interpreting a first in the hotel industry. Given how technology makes it easy to achieve this particular gain in accessibility, we don't see why more hotels don't adopt similar measures.