On Thursday, November 16, popular hospitality service Airbnb announced its acquisition of Accomable, a London-based startup that focuses on making traveling easier for everyone, regardless of disability. Airbnb acquired Accomable in a bid to make its service accessible to more consumers. Accomable features a list of accessible places to stay across the globe. Users can look for accommodations with specific accessibility features and ones that are ideal for individuals with a particular disability.
It can be recalled that the only accessibility feature offered by Airbnb was the ability to search whether or not listings were accessible by wheelchair. The inclusion of a new feature will allow users with specific disabilities to search for places of temporary residence that is suitable for their need.
"Today, we’re announcing some new features that will make our community more accessible and the acquisition of a new company that will help us accelerate our work," Airbnb said in a blog post on its official website.
Airbnb neither divulged details about how much it paid to buy Accomable nor did it reveal exactly when it acquired the company. Nevertheless, Airbnb has already incorporated the brand new accessibility feature on its official website.
After integrating Accomable's listings on its official website, Airbnb plans to close down Accomable's existing site. As far as Accomable's employees are concerned, they will be teaming up with Airbnb employees in order to make it easier for Airbnb's customers to find accommodations with specific accessibility features, Airbnb noted in its blog post. Srin Madipalli, Accomable co-founder, and CEO will also join Airbnb. Accomable's team will not only come up with more specific features for the Airbnb customers but also build a community of hosts who are willing to accept visitors with disabilities. This will appeal more to people interested in booking disabled-friendly travel.
As part of the transition, the company will invite Accomable’s current hosts to list on Airbnb. First off, they will focus on providing accommodations for those in wheelchairs, Madipalli said.
Accomable had collected listing for 1,100 properties in 60 countries across the world with information regarding a slew of accessibility adaptations such as step-free access, along with pictures to show it all to potential visitors. The plan is to gradually create communities for travelers with various other accessibility needs.
“It’s something that has frustrated me from the start, that we weren’t able to do everything for everyone,” Madipalli said.
“One of the challenges in an early startup is that you have constrained resources, but within Airbnb, we can diversify,” he added. Madipalli deemed the lack of available listings in comparison to the demand for places as Accomable’s biggest challenge. (Image Credit: Airbnb/YouTube screencap)