When travel and accessibility meet, it can be life changing for guests with limited mobility. For the first big trip of his life, Edouard was flying 10,000 miles (17,000 kilometers) from France to Australia, looking for an extraordinary experience and a home that could accommodate his wheelchair.
Edouard stayed with hosts in Sydney that provided both: “A big thank you to Cheryl and Peter for welcoming me into their home in the land of kangaroos… [They were] smiley Airbnb hosts, very available, with a fully-accessible apartment,” he wrote in his review of their home, which features wide doorways and wide clearance to the bed, a roll-in shower, and more.
The good news for Edouard—and other travelers with limited mobility—is that Airbnb is taking steps to make homes with accessible features even easier to find. The good news for hosts is that reaching this group of potential guests doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to renovate your home. It can be as simple as updating your photography and, as always, setting clear expectations.
“There are so many disabilities, thus a large variety of needs for different people… It doesn’t have to be perfect,” said Lynda, a host and guest from New Zealand who has limited mobility. “Pictures showing the facilities help hugely. If all the facts are presented, we could make an informed decision rather than having to ask [hosts] the same questions over and over again.”
Here’s our 5-step plan to help you update your photography, highlight accessibility, and stand out in search results.
Step 1: Think of your photos as a tour.
Guests who use wheelchairs, walkers, canes or other mobility devices need to be able to visualize themselves in that space and see if they can easily navigate from the car, to the front door, and throughout the home.
(Clockwise from top left: street view, path to home, entry way, and parking spot)
*Some hosts have told us they feel uncomfortable showing the front of their homes. If you feel the same way, try photographing the threshold, rather than the entire entrance. The important part is to take the photo straight on, with the door open, so guests can see how wide it is and if there’s a step.
Step 2: Open doors.
Whether it’s the entrance to a bedroom, bathroom, or the front of the house, opening doors helps guests understand how spaces are connected. Plus, it feels more inviting.
Step 3: Get low.
For listings with accessibility features, it’s all about highlighting step-free floors, not high ceilings.
Step 4: Show as much as possible.
Photograph entire rooms and what’s inside them — this allows guests to see for themselves if they can easily navigate their way in and around the room.
Step 5: Details, details, details.
For hosts who have invested in accessible features such as grab rails and hoists, here’s how to showcase them.
Shower and bath chairs: position the chair at an angle to show many sides of the chair.
Small tweaks to photography cannot only help you — hosts who invest in professional photography, for instance, make about 26 percent more per night — you can also transform lives in a big way.
When Edouard left Sydney, he said: “I have only one desire: to come back to have more completely crazy and extraordinary experiences!” Imagine a guest leaving your home with a feeling like that.
Cute place. As a wheelchair-user I would say it's not an option because the toilet and shower are not wheelchair-friendly.
I'm grateful that I was provided with a photographer that produced great shots the 1st time around. I have a second room listed, so I've requested a return photo session. I've made some updates, so want to include those! I hope the second photographer is as good as the 1st one was.