Lonely Planet Writer

Airbnb plans to boost accommodation options for travellers with disabilities

Airbnb is poised to become a better tool for travellers with disabilities as it integrates more accessible listings into its global offerings.

University students in a student accommodation kitchen. Image by Airbnb

The home-rental site has recently acquired Accomable, a platform that helps connect travellers with reliable travel information and accessible places to stay. Accomable was originally founded by Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, friends with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who have travelled all over the world. They created Accomable to help make it easier for everyone to travel, and now Airbnb is hoping to bring their expertise to its platform.

The listings found on Accomable – which are located in more than 60 countries – will soon be included in Airbnb. All of the listing will have step-free access, along with high-quality photos and information on just what accessibility adaptations are available. In addition, Srin will join Airbnb to work on continuing accessibility efforts. There are also new features on the way that will allow hosts to designate more information on their listing, like if there is step-free entry to rooms, entrances that are wide enough for wheelchairs and more.

Airbnb will increase its accessible homes. Image by Airbnb

Srin also posted on the Accomable website, explaining that they spent a long time considering the decision, and worked with Airbnb’s senior management to make sure that accessibility doesn’t become an afterthought on the site. “During our time at Airbnb, we were left in no doubt that Airbnb shares our mission and we are convinced that joining Airbnb provides the best opportunity to take our dream and mission to a global level, using the current reach of Airbnb’s community of four million hosts and 100 million guests to work together and make the world more accessible”.

Airbnb says it is looking forward to implementing quicker and easier ways for hosts to update their homes’ accessibility information, and hope to increase guests’ confidence that these homes will fit their needs.