- Airbnb just bought Accomable, a London-based startup that helps travellers with disabilities find places to stay around the world.
Airbnb is also adding an “accessibility needs” checklist to its site to help people with particular disabilities search for accommodations that meet their specific needs.
- Accomable’s founders and team will join Airbnb.
In a push to make its service accessible to more consumers, Airbnb announced Thursday it has acquired a startup that helps people with disabilities find accommodations on the road.
Called Accomable and based in London, the startup has a website that features listings of accessible places to stay from around the world. The site allows users to search for accomodations that have particular accessibility features and ones that are suitable for people with specific disabilities.
Relatedly, Airbnb announced it is launching a new feature that will allow people with particular disabilities to search for accomodations that meet their needs. Previously, the only accessibility feature users could search for on Airbnb was whether listings were wheelchair accessible.
The new feature “will make our community more accessible and the acquisition of [Accomable] will help us accelerate our work,” Airbnb said in a company blog post.
Through a spokesperson, Airbnb declined to say when it acquired Accomable or how much it paid for the company. In its blog post, Airbnb said it has already started to roll out the new accessibility feature on its site.
Airbnb plans to incorporate Accomable’s listings on its own site and eventually shut down Accomable’s. Additionally, Accomable’s team will be working with Airbnb employees to make it even easier for the latter’s customers to search for accomodations with particular accessibility features, Airbnb said in its post.
Accomable founders Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley will be joining Airbnb.
The acquisition and the new search feature come as part of a larger initiative Airbnb started last year to make its service more accommodating to people with disabilities. The company also designed a new “accessibility needs” checklist for hosts. When listing a property on the service, hosts can now specify the kinds of accessibility features their homes have.
Previously, travellers who needed accessibility features other than the ability to accommodate a wheelchair would typically have to contact hosts directly to see if the hosts’ homes met their needs.
Airbnb said the new features won’t be the end of its efforts to make its service more accessible to people with disabilities.
“All of these improvements are important, but they alone aren’t the solution: they are the start of an ongoing conversation and we’re committed to doing more,” it said in its blog post.