Airbnb just took an important step toward inclusiveness by making it easier to find listings that are accessible for people who use wheelchairs.
If you climb up porch stairs or step into a shower without thinking about it, you may never have noticed that finding disability-friendly listings on Airbnb was a challenge, requiring guests to grill hosts about details on accessible bathrooms and ramps and leaving much to be desired. Airbnb recognized the problem (eventually), and in 2017 it started working with the California Council of the Blind, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and National Council on Independent Living to develop new filters that would make it easier for travelers to find homes that fit their needs. It also purchased Accomable, a startup dedicated to disability-friendly travel.
Now, Airbnb has introduced 21 filters that help travelers find listings that meet their specific needs, including roll-in showers, ramps, hallways wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, and step-free access to rooms. Previously, Airbnb users were able to search for “wheelchair accessible” listings on the site, but that wasn’t sufficient to meet many travelers’ specific needs.
The news come just as Google Maps introduced wheelchair-accessible routes on its public transportation guides. These small steps are a huge way to make wheelchair users feel comfortable and included in the world.