Airbnb acquires accessible travel website

Airbnb acquires accessible travel website

Airbnb has taken over a website set up following two disabled people’s frustration over inaccurate information on accommodation accessibility.

London-based Accomable was founded by friends with spinal muscular atrophy in 2015.

Former corporate lawyer Srin Madipalli came up with the idea after he quit his job to travel the world and found it difficult to find appropriate hotels.

He persuaded childhood friend Martyn Sibley to join him, and together they created a website aimed at making it easier for disabled people to travel.

The Accomable site will be wound down over the coming months and its listings in more than 60 countries will be incorporated into Airbnb.

All the listings have step-free access, high quality photos and detailed information on a whole range of accessibility adaptations.

“Perhaps more importantly, Srin and his team will be bringing their tremendous expertise and passion for inclusive travel to Airbnb,” a company spokesman said.

“As part of the Airbnb team, Srin will lead our efforts to make travel accessible for everyone.”

Like Airbnb, home owners are able to rent out rooms or entire properties via the website which only shows places which have step-free access and detailed information on accessibility adaptations.

Airbnb said: “While we have rules that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities and an open doors policy that helps ensure everyone can find a place to stay, it’s clear that we can do more to effectively serve people with disabilities.

“Previously, travellers with disabilities could only search for homes that were labelled as ‘wheelchair accessible’ when they were searching for an accessible place to stay.

“Guests weren’t getting the information they needed to find the right homes, nor the confidence that the home they selected would actually be accessible for them.”

The rental website is working on new “accessibility needs” checklists for hosts.

The new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry to rooms, entrances that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more.

“The features help hosts be descriptive about their home’s accessibility, and give guests the clear information they need to find the right home for them.

“We’ve already begun to roll out this new feature to allow guests to search based on accessibility criteria that is important to them on the web, and Apple iOS and Android will follow over the next few months,” Airbnb said.

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