Last updated on January 21st, 2023
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.”
Catherine Powell / Photo provided by Airbnb
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.
“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.”
Search for stays that have been verified to be accessible on Airbnb / Photo provided by Airbnb
Read More: Airbnb’s new services to empower women
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.
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