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What to Know about ADA Hotel Room Signage Requirements

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As it becomes safe to travel, more and more people will be taking trips to visit loved ones or enjoy much-needed vacations. There’s no question that hotels will be in high demand over the coming year. This means those in the hospitality industry (and the sign shops that serve them) need to be prepared by having the correct signage in place. And it all starts by gaining an understanding of ADA hotel room signage requirements. 

Hotel room displays may not seem like a very complicated type of signage. However, there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about what characteristics are necessary. Whether you’re outsourcing such signs for a client or purchasing them for your own facility, it’s crucial that you get everything right.  

Here’s why…

The Importance of Following ADA Hotel Room Signage Requirements

First things first, following ADA hotel room signage requirements is important for—you guessed it—ADA compliance. Per the ADA, all hotels, motels, inns, and other places of lodging must comply with the ADA. There’s even a helpful checklist available for new lodging facilities, with an entire section dedicated to interior signs. When hotel room signs don’t have all the necessary characteristics, are mounted incorrectly, or have become difficult to read due to wear, they’re considered noncompliant. And like any other business, hotels that don’t comply with the ADA—even just in terms of signage—can expect to pay some hefty fines

However, avoiding a costly fee isn’t the only reason to comply with the ADA by having the right displays in place. There’s also the not-so-small matter of protecting against potential legal ramifications. If a hotel’s lack of ADA-compliant signage restricts access to guests with disabilities, management could be faced with a lawsuit

To the point above, following ADA hotel room signage requirements plays a role in ensuring guest satisfaction. After all, the ADA was created so that those with disabilities would have the same rights and opportunities as those without. Making sure the right signs are installed in the right places… 

  1. Allows guests with visual impairments to use the facility with ease
  2. Shows that hotel management cares about providing equal access to all guests  

Finally, adhering to ADA hotel room sign rules is important for budgetary reasons. The last thing any business wants is to waste money on poorly designed, noncompliant signage. And hotels are no exception. Fortunately, getting the right signs the first time can help save money, as the displays won’t need to be replaced for years—so long as they’re crafted with high-quality materials. 

What Characteristics Are Required for Hotel Room Number Signs?

Now that you understand why it’s so important to follow ADA hotel room signage requirements, it’s time for the next step—learning what characteristics are necessary. Of course, the average hotel has several kinds of displays installed throughout the premises. But in this case, we’re focusing on room number signage specifically.

There are many things that make a sign ADA compliant. However, the following provides a brief rundown of what these signs should have. 

1) Raised Characters and Braille

To meet ADA hotel room signage requirements, displays identifying numbered rooms must be designed to be read by touch. This means tactile characters are required. Per the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, either one sign with both visual and tactile characters or two separate signs can be used. However, it’s more common to see one sign with both types of characters. 

There are several specifications outlined for raised characters, including…

Further, the corresponding braille has its own set of specifications that cover…

2) Contrast Between Characters and Background

Like all other signs meant for identifying permanent spaces, hotel room signs must have a high level of contrast between the characters and the background. This is so that guests with reduced vision can read the text easily to determine if they’ve arrived at the right room. 

Are there guidelines for level of contrast or colors of characters/background?

No. A good rule of thumb is 70% contrast, but a specific percentage isn’t set by the ADA. Further, the contrast can be achieved with either light characters on a dark background or dark characters on a light background.  

3) Non-Glare Finish

Another must-have for hotel room signs is a non-glare finish. This applies to both visual characters and their background. The idea is for surface glare to be eliminated so that guests have no trouble reading the sign. Like sign contrast, there aren’t specific guidelines for sign finish. That said, matter or eggshell is typically used during fabrication. 

Bonus: Pictograms

Pictograms aren’t considered one of the ADA hotel room signage requirements. However, many lodging facilities opt to include small pictograms, such as no smoking graphics, on room number signs. These pictograms are optional, which means they don’t need to fit a certain space or have corresponding braille. That said, it’s best to make them easy for guests to read and understand.   

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What to Keep in Mind for Proper Hotel Room Sign Installation

A hotel room number sign in chemetal for room 415 with braille.

Proper sign installation is also one of the ADA hotel room signage requirements to follow. Although height and location aren’t part of the displays themselves, where they’re located has just as much of an impact. If they’re placed in an inconvenient spot, guests may struggle to read them. 

That’s why those tasked with hanging the signs should make sure to…   

  1. Place them between 48 and 60 inches above the ground
  2. Avoid installing them directly on doors
  3. Allow for enough clearance


Whether you work in the hospitality industry or frequently do business with clients that do, understanding basic ADA hotel room signage requirements is key. The good news is you don’t need to memorize all the rules in their entirety. Working with a sign fabricator that specializes in ADA signage means you can have peace of mind the signs you receive are 100% compliant.  

If you’re in the market for new ADA-compliant displays, learn how Erie Custom Signs provide the hotel signs you need!

Filed Under: ADA Signage

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