Airbnb is now trying to become the most accommodating rental service on the market. On Thursday, November 16, the short-term rental company announced the acquisition of Accomable, a London-based startup that seeks to provide folks with disabilities with suitable accommodations on their vacations. Airbnb will also be revamping its native accessibility features to ensure that the platform can cater to any kind of customer.
In a note on its own website, Accomable noted the decision to join the larger Airbnb team, “Today marks the start of an exciting and historic new chapter in our mission to make travel accessible for disabled people around the world,” wrote Srin Madipalli, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “I am delighted to announce that the Accomable team and myself will be joining the Airbnb family to share our unique knowledge and expertise to make one of the world’s largest travel communities more accessible, and to enable Airbnb to fulfill its mission to create a world where anyone can truly belong anywhere.”
As a person with a disability himself, Madipalli sought to “open up travel and adventure to hundreds of millions of disabled people.” The Airbnb acquisition may allow the platform to do just that. While Accomable will be shuttering its own business, that doesn’t mean its mission is going anywhere. Instead, the startup will be working on features for Airbnb, hoping to make the service more attractive to folks who might need hosts capable of accommodating disabled guests.
For starters, Madipalli notes that “if you are a guest who has booked a trip via Accomable, we’ll be reaching out to you with instructions so you can continue on your vacation just as you planned.” As for vendors, they will receive communication from Accomable as well to ensure that they can “manage existing reservations and list on Airbnb.” While Accomable’s website will eventually redirect to Airbnb, for the time being, listings will remain on the original site.
The executive further noted that the team would be working with existing Airbnb hosts to find properties with accessibility features, and make them more discoverable using new Airbnb filters. And to further the number of opportunities available to people with disabilities, Madipalli and his colleagues will be working with Airbnb’s Trips and future product lines to place accessibility at the heart of Airbnb.
“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,” Airbnb said in a blog post. But with the introduction of search features like whether rooms have step-free entry, or if doorways are large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, things seem to be looking up.
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