Airbnb Rolls Out New Features For Those With Disabilities
Following accusations of discrimination against travelers with disabilities, Airbnb said it is implementing changes aimed at making its platform friendlier to those with various needs.
The short-term rental platform is rolling out 21 new filters specifically aimed at those with disabilities.
Rather than search for a catch-all category of “wheelchair accessible” listings, users will be able to zero in on rentals with certain features like step-free access, wide doorways or hallways, accessible-height beds, roll-in showers and other features, the company said.
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“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,” said Srin Madipalli, accessibility product and program manager at Airbnb.
Madipalli came to Airbnb after his site Accomable — which focused on accessible vacation rentals in private homes — was swallowed up by Airbnb last year.
The acquisition followed the release of a Rutgers University study which found that Airbnb hosts frequently turned people with disabilities away even in cases where they listed their rentals as accessible.
Airbnb said it teamed up with the California Council of the Blind, the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and the National Council on Independent Living to develop the new accessibility filters and will be working diligently to ensure that they are as accurate as possible.
Additional measures to improve accessibility options for Airbnb users are in the works, the company said.