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Airbnb empowers disabled guests with new accessibility features

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To help guests with disabilities, Airbnb has launched 21 new accessibility features and filters to find homes which better fit their needs.

Good news for disabled guests (and their families) worldwide – the new filters allow handicapped guests to search for listings with specific features like a step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough for wheelchairs, and more!

It’s definitely a major improvement from its previous feature, which only offers an option for a ‘wheelchair accessible’ listing – not very personalised for unique individual needs.

The announcement came as Srin Madipalli, accessibility product and program manager at Airbnb, continues his dedicated work with hosts and guests. He’s a geneticist turned corporate lawyer, turned coder and product developer at Airbnb.

“As a person with disabilities and a passionate traveller, I am hugely excited by the changes we’re making at Airbnb. Our mission is to enable anyone to belong anywhere, regardless of disability,” said Madipalli.

But this announcement is only the beginning.

The new filters are part of a series of steps Airbnb is taking to ensure its community is literally accessible to everyone.

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“Our mission is to enable anyone to belong anywhere, regardless of disability.”

For example, Airbnb started a collaboration with the California Council of the Blind, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and National Council on Independent Living. The purpose of these collaborations is to develop accessibility filters and to further improve and clarify accessibility policies.

Accommodating changes

Srin Madipalli

Also, late last year, Airbnb acquired Accomable, a London-based accessible travel start-up founded by Madipalli and his friend Martyn Sibley, who both have Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

“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,” added Madipalli.

Moving forward, Airbnb promises to work closely with both hosts and guests to ensure the new filters provide useful and accurate information. The home-sharing company is aiming to improve and expand the filters further to support as many travellers as possible.

The screenshot below shows Airbnb’s new Accessibility features and filters:

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