Inspire

Airbnb Is Making It Easier For Travellers With Disabilities To Find Accommodation

Recognising it can do more to serve travellers with disabilities, Airbnb has introduced new features and partnerships that will make it easier to find accommodation, no matter what your circumstance.

Alongside work with advocacy groups like the California Foundation for Independent Living Centres (CFILC) and the California Council of the Blind (CCB), Airbnb announced it has acquired Accomable, a web-based listings service for properties that cater to disabled travellers.

Accomable was founded by friends Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley – both of whom have spinal muscular atrophy – in 2015. It currently boasts 500 listings in 60 countries, highlighting features like hoists, accessible showers and ramp access.

“Our decision to join Airbnb was one that we spent a long time considering,” Madipalli wrote in an open letter on Accomable’s website.

“Our work has allowed us to develop unrivalled expertise in the world of accessible travel, building a brand that disabled travellers can trust. We are convinced that joining Airbnb provides the best opportunity to take our dream and mission to a global level.”

The service’s listings has been merged with Airbnb’s existing database, which has been upgraded to include an “accessibility needs” checklist that will help host more accurately describe their home’s facilities and available adaptations. The checklist replaces Airbnb’s “wheelchair accessible” label, which wasn’t necessarily relevant for all disabled travellers.

On top of that, Airbnb is working to ensure its platform is easily accessed and usable for as many travellers as possible, employing a dedicated team of engineers and designers to ensure the visual and mechanical aspects of the site are clear to all.

“As a disabled person and passionate traveller, I am hugely excited by the changes we’re making at Airbnb. With these new filters, we are making it easier for everyone to share their adapted homes with disabled travellers around the world. Our mission is to enable anyone to belong anywhere, regardless of disability,” Madipalli — who is now Airbnb’s Accessibility Product and Program Manager — said of the upgrade’s launch.

Cheers to that, Airbnb!

(Lead image courtesy of Airbnb)

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This article has been updated with new quotes from Srin Madipalli and details about the platform’s features.