Supporting travellers with disabilities is key to inclusivity
Travel, exploring new communities and destinations around the world, should be open to anyone. As part of Airbnb’s mission to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, and with the acquisition of Accomable in 2017, Airbnb is continuing its work to improve accessibility for disabled travellers.
Meet some of the people across the UK helping ensure that travel on Airbnb is accessible and see how it’s making a difference in the lives of others:
“I think what Airbnb are trying to achieve is actually fantastic because there’s a real need for more accessible holiday accommodation. It’s so important that people with any level of disability feel like they can go anywhere.”
“We do benefit the local community because we’re lucky enough to have accessible pubs and places of interest close by.”
”I would recommend if you were considering changing your accommodation to be accessible, VisitBritain do a very good course called “Welcome All” with lots of information and help.”
“Travelling pre accident was so easy. I think you very much as an able bodied person take for granted just how easy it is to hop on a flight, hop on a train. Be very spontaneous and just go somewhere.”
“The biggest difficulties that wheelchair users and people with other disabilities face are the physical barriers. Day to day places not being accessible or there’s no accessible bathrooms or there’s steps to get places.”
As one of the first steps to ensure our community is accessible to everyone, Airbnb introduced 27 new accessibility filters to make it easier for people to find homes which fit their needs, and so hosts can better market their home’s accessible features for incoming guests. These new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more.
Experiences on Airbnb are activities designed and led by passionate locals that go beyond typical tours or classes to immerse guests in each host’s unique world. Airbnb is working to ensure that Experiences are accessible for others. As part of this, hosts are being encouraged to add accessibility info to their Experience page to indicate to guests whether their Experiences will work for guests with additional needs.
Airbnb employees are also working to expand the number of adapted Experiences on the platform around the world, like wheelchair tennis, an Experience led by Airbnb employee, Suzanne. Suzanne, an internationally ranked player and part of the Great Britain Development Squad, hosts the Experience which is open to anyone who wants to give this challenging sport a go.
Suzanne says, “I love that able-bodied people can come along and get an understanding of what it’s like to be a wheelchair user.”
“I think it’s really really exciting that we can offer homes and experiences to people with disabilities and that they can choose where they want to stay or what they want to do. All the accessibility information they would need is there in front of them and from there, they can connect directly with the host to ask any additional questions if need be.”
In the coming months, Airbnb will continue to prioritise sourcing adapted Experiences, with an emphasis on making sure disabled guests can find Experiences which suit their needs, which, in Suzanne’s view, is key:
“We’re working to create Experiences where there’s no segregation; no wheelchair users and able-bodied people. It’s just everyone enjoying the experience together. So you can just show up and have the best time possible.”
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