Airbnb launches travel accessibility awareness campaign

Australia / New Zealand: Airbnb has launched an awareness campaign to help encourage Australians and New Zealanders make travel more accessible.

Tourism Research Australia revealed an estimated 20 per cent of Australian adults have a disability or long-term health condition and Statistics New Zealand found as many as one in four New Zealanders have a physical, sensory, learning, mental health or other disability.

To ensure Airbnb’s community is accessible to everyone, the platform has introduced 27 accessibility filters to make it easier for people to find homes which suit their specific needs, so hosts can better market their property’s accessible features for future guests.

Last year, Airbnb acquired Accomable, a London-based accessible travel startup founded in 2015 by friends Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, who both have Spinal Muscular Atrophy in the UK.

Accomable introduced a connection between travellers with disabilities with listings that met their needs.

The awareness campaign launch comes as Madipalli, now accessibility product and program manager at Airbnb, continues his work meeting with Airbnb hosts, guests and disability sector representatives in Sydney this week.

Madipalli said: “As a passionate traveller and person with a disability, I’ve always known how difficult it can be to plan a trip. I not only want to stay in a trendy, accessible home in a new destination but I want to explore, meet new people and get a true taste of the local culture.

“As a power wheelchair user, that can be tough. At Airbnb, we recognise this and we want to make it easier for guests to find homes which suit their needs, but we also want to enable everyone to enjoy authentic, local experiences, whatever their requirements,” he added.

Airbnb said its accessibility team would continue to prioritise sourcing accessible travel experiences across Australia and New Zealand over the coming months, with an emphasis on ensuring guests with disabilities can find experiences which suit their needs.

Airbnb country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Sam McDonagh, said there had never been a better time to become an experience host on Airbnb.

McDonagh said: “We want to encourage more entrepreneurs to create unique, accessible experiences on Airbnb, whether you want to introduce guests to an adaptive sport, host a local art or cooking class or take travellers on a step-free or sensory journey through one of your favourite neighbourhoods.

“We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local cultures of the places they visit across Australia and New Zealand, regardless of disability, and there’s no better way to do this than through Airbnb,” he added.