Airbnb Highlights New Accessibility Features

SAN FRANCISCO—Airbnb has released 21 new accessibility filters across the platform, which make it easier for guests with disabilities to find accessible travel accommodation worldwide.

The new filters allow Airbnb guests to search for listings with specific features, including step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more. Previously, guests on Airbnb were only able to search for ‘‘wheelchair accessible” listings, which did not always meet travelers’ individual needs.

Srin Madipalli, accessibility product and program manager at Airbnb, said, “As a person with disabilities and passionate traveler, I am hugely excited by the changes we’re making at Airbnb. With these new filters, we are making it easier for everyone to share their adapted homes with travelers with disabilities around the world. Our mission is to enable anyone to belong anywhere, regardless of disability.”

The introduction of the new filters is one in a series of steps Airbnb is taking to ensure its community is accessible for everyone. In 2017, Airbnb started collaborating 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. In late 2017, Airbnb also acquired Accomable, the London-based accessible travel start-up founded in 2015 by Madipalli and Martyn Sibley—two friends with spinal muscular atrophy in the U.K. Accomable linked travelers with disabilities with listings that met their needs.

Going forward, Airbnb will be working with its community of hosts and guests to ensure the new filters offer information that is as useful and accurate as possible, with the aim to improve and expand the filters to ensure they support as many travelers 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,” added Madipalli. “We encourage everyone to use them and send through their feedback.”

Airbnb’s new accessibility features and filters allow guests to search for listings with some or all of the following features: step-free access to the home, bedroom, bathroom and common areas; wide doorway to the home, bedroom, bathroom and common areas; well-lit path to entrance; flat path to front door; wide hallways (at least 36-in. wide); elevators; accessible-height bed; wide clearance to bed; roll-in shower with chair; bathtub with shower chair; accessible-height toilet; wide clearance to the shower and toilet; fixed grab bars for the shower and toilet; handheld shower head; and a disabled parking spot.