Airbnb rentals are generally inaccessible to guests with disabilities, according to recently conducted research by Rutgers University. Notably, the said lack of accessibility has hardly anything to do with any sort of physical obstruction that space might have.
Airbnb is a hospitality service that allows hosts to either lease or rent temporary lodgings such as apartment rentals, vacation rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms for travelers. When a tourist requests to stay, the host can opt to either take or reject them as a tenant.
Researchers scrutinized nearly 4,000 accommodation requests that were handed in between June and November last year by people coping with various types of disabilities including dwarfism, cerebral palsy, blindness, and spinal cord injuries.
Researchers found that the rate at which the travelers were originally approved i.e. the preapproval rate for guests without any disabilities was 75%. Interestingly, the said ratings would drop considerably when a guest revealed a disability. Check out the preapproval rate drop for guests with disability:
Dwarfism - 61%
Blindness - 50%
Cerebral palsy – 43%
Spinal cord injuries - 25%
As part of the study, researchers also analyzed the response hosts gave when turning down potential guests with disabilities. One host rejected a prospective guest with cerebral palsy claiming their place has tapered and circular staircase, which would not be ideal for the traveler. Another host responding to a prospective guest with dwarfism noted that their home was designed for their 6'4 grandpa indicating that most of their amenities are placed relatively higher up.
While a few hosts approved blind travelers accompanied by guide dogs, they charged them additional fees. One host told a guest that they do not allow animals as a rule; however, if the guest agreed to pay them an additional $100 for animal cleaning, they would make an exception.
Another host noted that there is a pet fee of $25 (preferably cash) payable upon check in. No prizes for guessing, the pet fee is non-refundable. Besides, it is imperative for the guest to clean up as soon as their pets use the available dog doo-doo bags. In the case that the host has the clean the yard of dog's debris, an additional fee will be brought to bear.
Some hosts clearly violated policies of the hospitality giant; however, a few left no stone unturned in order to make a room for guests with disabilities.
Responding to a guest with a spinal cord injury, one host said they have 2 steps up to their front porch but, they'd be happy to help the traveler. In response to a traveler with blindness, another host noted that he/she would be their first blind guest. The host went as far as asking their potential blind visitor if there's anything they need to do in order to make the apartment ready for use.
(Image: TeroVesalainen / Pixabay)