Hotels Learn What It Takes to Be Autism-Friendly

family hotel checkin


Is your hotel autism-friendly? Some Florida hotels—DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Orlando at SeaWorld and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Orlando at SeaWorld—have each become designated as a Certified Autism Resort to ensure the guest experience is tailored to the needs of travelers with autism and sensory concerns.

To earn the designation, hotel teams must complete a certification program from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to ensure all staff have the training, tools and skills necessary to work with guests with autism or other sensory needs.

“This partnership is important to the families that stay with us, but also embraces the Marriott culture of taking care of others. Also, this effort hits close to home for me as two of my family members have autism,” said Michael Wilke, dual general manager, SpringHill Suites and Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Orlando at SeaWorld.

At the DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld, the goal is to offer service to exceed each guest’s expectation, including those with unique needs.

“We know it can be challenging for travelers with autistic family members and/or employees with autism or other sensory needs, so we are honored to have partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards to be a Certified Autism Center,” said Marje Jones, director of sales & marketing, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld. “Our resort is among the first properties in the area to be designated, and the timing is perfect with SeaWorld Parks announcing its designation earlier this year. Together with our partners at SeaWorld Parks, we can now offer a unique experience to meet our guests’ needs.”

Wilke and his team found the process through the IBCCES to be very simple to get started.

“The training was very inclusive of learning about our guests in the hotel and the best way to assist and advocate for them. The training was done via online channels with monitoring assistance from our corporate trainer,” he said. “One hundred percent of our high guest contact staff and managers have completed the training. At Marriott, we have a mission to ‘Welcome All,’ and that means ensuring our staff is trained on how to interact with all of our global travelers.”


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