Accessible Airbnb: Home-sharing platform rolls out filters for disabled travelers

The new filters allow travelers with disabilities to search for listings with specific features. Source: Unsplash.

AIRBNB released 21 new accessibility filters across the platform today, making it easier for guests with disabilities to find accessible travel accommodation worldwide.

In late 2017, Airbnb acquired Accomable, the London-based accessible travel startup that linked travelers with disabilities with listings that met their needs. Airbnb also collaborated with the California Council of the Blind, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and National Council on Independent Living to develop the accessibility filters, and to improve and clarify its accessibility policies.

“Previously, guests on Airbnb were only able to search for ‘‘wheelchair accessible’ listings, which did not always meet travelers’ individual needs,” Airbnb wrote in a statement.

The new filters allow travelers with disabilities to search for listings with specific features. This includes:

  • Step-free access
  • A well-lit path to the entrance
  • Wide doorway
  • A flat path to the front door
  • Wide hallway clearance
  • Hallways at least 90cm wide.
  • ElevatorAccessible-height toilet
  • Wide clearance to shower, toilet
  • Fixed grab bars for the shower, toilet
  • Roll-in shower with chair
  • Bathtub with a bath chair

And many more.

Moving forward, Airbnb will be working closely with its community of hosts and guests to ensure the new filters offer information which is as useful and accurate as possible

“The introduction of the new accessibility features and filters to all hosts and guests is just the first stage in our journey to improve accessibility at Airbnb. We encourage everyone to use them and send through their feedback,” Airbnb Accessibility Product and Program Manager Srin Madipalli said.

Source: Airbnb.

Last year, a Rutgers University study based on more than 3,800 Airbnb lodging requests sent by researchers found that requests from travelers with disabilities are more likely to be rejected outright.

The preapproval rate was 75 percent for travelers without disabilities, compared to 61 percent for travelers with dwarfism, 50 percent for travelers with blindness, 43 percent for travelers with cerebral palsy, and 25 percent for travelers with spinal cord injury.