Disclaimer: I'm not directly affected by this issue and therefore my understanding of its nuances is limited.
Why isn't there a means to verify that someone is entitled to an accessible room (and other accessible services)?
I mean, I understand squirecam wrote above that it's against the law and being somewhat unfamiliar with US privacy law, I accept that at face value.
But why? It's acceptable to require such proof for accessible parking spaces in the form of a permit. It's acceptable (at least as far as I understand it) to challenge a service animal owner and ask to see the animal's certification. It's even acceptable to ask for ID before allowing a senior's discount at a restaurant or movie theater. It seems to me these are all privacy issues in the same vein as an ADA hotel room.
It just seems to me that if there were a certification or permit equivalent to that used for simple parking enforcement, it would (probably dramatically) reduce the number of people who would cheat the system. Then, ADA rooms *could* be reserved for those who genuinely need them.
How do you prove you're disabled when booking online?
Lets put it this way. My dad is disabled, has a parking permit. I could create an account under his name, use his permit, and credit card to book the room. Whats stopping me?
To that, by law hotels have to keep ADA rooms set aside until all other rooms are booked, then they can sell those rooms to people who don't really need them. The way we do mass booking, it will use those rooms too. But 3rd party sites like we use don't fall under the law of ADA marking of rooms. They don't have to, it's the hotels responsibility.
You can call the hotel after booking and request your room be a ADA room. And to that, there is a little power on your side. If you do book an ADA room and the accessible room you reserved is not available, for whatever reason, the hotel should move you (at their cost) to a nearby property that can provide a room to meet your needs.