Airbnb Introduces New Adapted Listings to Support Accessible Travel

by | Jan 19, 2023

An Airbnb with a focus on accessible travel overlooking green hills
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Last updated on March 25th, 2024

Featured image: Over 1000 homes on Airbnb have been verified for accessible travel around the world | Photo provided by Airbnb

Airbnb’s new ‘adapted’ category includes some ‘magical’ homes 

By Carolyn Ray, Editor, JourneyWoman

While some say the hotel industry has been slow to respond to accessibility, Airbnb is trying to get out front and offer travellers with mobility issues more options. In its most recent announcement in November 2022, Airbnb launched six new categories, including ‘Adapted’, ‘New’ and ‘Top of the World’. The ‘Adapted’ category features over 1,000 homes that have been screened for accessible features.

Women, as the primary travel decision makers, are a target audience for the new services, both as travellers and as hosts. According to Catherine Powell, Head of Global Hosting at Airbnb, the company has seen huge growth in older guests, 60 plus, who have the means and the flexibility to travel.. You can see Adapted listings here

Accessible travel made easier with Airbnb

“With ‘Adapted’, we’ve created a whole category — treehouses, cabins, domes, a bio-villa in Spain, that are accessible,” she says. “They’re really unique and magical – and all of these 1000 homes will have been verified for step-free access to the home, to the bedroom and to the bathroom, and will have another feature, such as a grab-bar or a step-free shower.”

Homes have been verified to ensure they have step-free entrances into the home and to one or more bedrooms and bathrooms, in addition to at least one accessibility feature in the bedroom or bathroom.

Catherine Powell spearheaded the project of the adaptive listings for accessible travel within Airbnb

Catherine Powell / Photo provided by Airbnb

“The need for accuracy for accessible homes is so important,” she says. “I think step-free has to mean it’s step-free. So that’s when we started really verifying all of that with the Accessibility Review.” 

According to Powell, these homes have been scanned with 3D technology by a company called Matterport, which uses Artificial Intelligence to analyze and verify that they meet these mobility criteria.  

Powell was the executive sponsor of Airbnb’s Able Affinity Group, which spearheaded the project

“You can even see that the corridor was measured; it will say 32 inches,” she says. “I’m really proud of this – it’s an area that’s really important to me, and I’m really proud that we’ve launched it.”

Accessible travel is made easier with Airbnb's Adapted category, as seen in these phone mockups

Search for stays that have been verified to be accessible on Airbnb / Photo provided by Airbnb

A bathroom that has been adapted with arm grab bars for accessible travel

The area surrounding the toilet has at least one grab bar that’s bolted or firmly attached to the wall and can fully bear weight. It can’t be a towel rack, and it can’t be suction-mounted or temporary. Source: Airbnb/ Photo provided by Airbnb

New Adapted category  features

Features included in Adapted listings include: 

    • Step-free guest entrance
    • Step-free path to the guest entrance
    • Guest entrance wider than 32 inches
    • Accessible parking spot
    • Step-free bedroom access
    • Bedroom entrance wider than 32 inches
    • Step-free bathroom access
    • Bathroom entrance wider than 32 inches
    • Shower grab bar
    • Toilet grab bar
    • Step-free shower
    • Shower or bath chair
    • Ceiling or mobile hoist

Hosts can add these features to their listings, which are explained in more detail here.

The Adapted principles have also been applied to Airbnb Experiences, which include filters on criteria such as:  No stairs or steps, Accessible bathroom, Audio or verbal information, Sign language, Deaf aware techniques, Designated sighted guide, No extreme sensory stimuli, Quiet retreat space, and free admission for people assisting guests with disabilities. 

Join our “Limitless Accessibility” Group on January 26 to talk about this and share tips on improving accessibility at accommodations and airports.

Limitless Accessibility Journeywoman webinar

Read More on Accessible Travel

As the CEO and Editor of JourneyWoman, Carolyn is a passionate advocate for women's travel and living the life of your dreams. She leads JourneyWoman's team of writers and chairs the JourneyWoman Women's Advisory Council and Women's Speaker's Bureau. She has been featured in the New York Times, Toronto Star and Zoomer as a solo travel expert, and speaks at women's travel conferences around the world. In March 2023, she was named one of the most influential women in travel by TravelPulse and was the recipient of a SATW travel writing award in September 2023. She is the chair of the Canadian chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), a member Women's Travel Leaders and a Herald for the Transformational Travel Council (TTC). Sometimes she sleeps. A bit.


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