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Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites to Feature "Short Stature Accessibility Kits" for Little People of America

Apr 4, 2007
ATLANTA (March 29, 2007) – To better serve the over 1.2 million Americans of short stature, Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites are providing accessibility products preferred by Little People at all of the brands’ nearly 400 hotels currently open around the U.S., which will also become ‘Little People Friendly Locations.’ Microtel Inns & Suites – the all-newly constructed chain of economy/budget hotels – and Hawthorn Suites – the all-suites, extended stay hotel brand – are the only hotel chains to offer the ‘Short Stature Accessibility Kit’ tools and training system wide.

“We are proud to announce an initiative that has not only brought a newcomer to our family, but further supports our culture of ensuring that we serve the needs of all travelers,” said Roy E. Flora, Chief Operating Officer of US Franchise Systems, Inc. (USFS), parent company of the franchisor of the Microtel and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. “America’s Little People are a special but often neglected group of travelers. It’s clear that with a few simple tools, training, and an understanding of their needs, we can provide them with quality, accessible hotel accommodations.”

The Short Stature Accessibility Kit, designed by Direct Access Solutions of Hillsboro, Oregon, includes a custom stepstool, ergonomic reach grabber, door security latch adapter, extension or ‘push-pull’ tool, and specially designed closet rod adapter.

“ADA-accessible rooms alone are not the answer for people of short stature,” added Matt Roloff, Chairman of Direct Access Solutions and former President of Little People of America. “We applaud Microtel and Hawthorn Suites for treating us with the respect we all deserve, and for being proactive to provide accessibility in all their hotels for America’s Little People." Roloff is also the host of The Learning Channel’s TV hit, Little People, Big World.

Added Kim Hund, General Manager of the Microtel Inn & Suites hotel in Joplin, MO, “Some of the things that Little People must do in order to reach a shower head, the sink faucet, or a coffee maker on the counter can be very dangerous. It is important that we be accessible-friendly for these travelers.”

Both Microtel and Hawthorn Suites have a longstanding commitment to provide quality accommodations and service to travelers with disabilities and are sponsors of The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH), which was instrumental in connecting Matt Roloff with Roy Flora. Microtel also recently received the Eagle Award from Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) for excellence in providing accessible lodging and for making a significant contribution to the advancement of people with disabilities.

About Direct Access Solutions
Direct Access Solutions (DAS) was founded in 2003 by Matt Roloff and Mike Detjen. The concept was based on the obvious needs of travelers with dwarfism and the challenges they face when visiting hotels made too big for them. The company prides itself in being the best source of travel accessibility aids for people with dwarfism, and an advocate for Little People who travel. For additional information, visit www.lp-access.com or call 503-846-1399.

About Microtel Inns & Suites
Microtel is the first economy/budget hotel brand to offer guests free local and long distance phone calls within the continental U.S., plus free wireless high speed Internet access in all guestrooms nationwide. All Microtel hotels offer complimentary continental breakfast. For an unprecedented fifth consecutive year, Microtel was ranked highest in guest satisfaction among economy/budget hotel chains in the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index StudySM. There are currently 303 Microtel Inn & Suites hotels open or under construction worldwide. For reservations, contact 1-800-771-7171 or TDD 1-800-824-2082 toll-free, or visit www.microtelinn.com.

About Hawthorn Suites
Hawthorn Suites offers spacious one-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens and studio suites with wet bars. Amenities include daily complimentary hot breakfast buffet and Wednesday evening social hour, and free high-speed Internet access. Most hotels feature meeting space, swimming pool, exercise facilities, guest laundry, on-site convenience store, valet and grocery shopping services. Guests can earn free nights at Hawthorn and other Hyatt hotel brands by taking advantage of Hawthorn’s partnership in the Hyatt Gold Passport® frequency program. There are currently 100 Hawthorn Suites open or under construction. For reservations, contact 1-800-527-1133 or TDD 1-800-824-2116 toll-free, or visit www.hawthorn.com.
All properties are independently owned and operated.

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Contact:
Barbara Wiener-Fischhof
US Franchise Systems, Inc.
404-235-7400
barbara.wiener.fischhof@usfsi.com

Roberta Schwartz
SATH
954-423-8709
Roberta@sath.org