I am both a host and a guest.  I find it incredibly difficult to find truly accessible accommodation.    When listing, owners tend to tick the box "Wheelchair access" if they think a wheelchair can get through the back door.   I'm not sure what we are supposed to do once we are there, if we can't get into the bathroom, toilet, or even the bedroom!   I feel that the listing should have a separate set of questions for hosts that want to claim that they are wheelchair friendly.   There are so many disabilities, thus a large variety of needs for different people.  If all the facts are presented then a person can decide if they can or can't manage.   It doesn't have to be perfect but there are important issues. - Are the doorways wide enough to take a wheelchair? can the wheelchair access the toilet area? is there a handle for support to transfer to the toilet? is the shower accessible (wet floor, support handles, non slip flooring)? can a wheelchair move to the side of the bed so a guest can transfer from the chair to the bed?  If this information was presented to me, (and other disabled travellers) we could make an informed decision rather than having to ask the same questions over and over again.  Pictures showing the facilities also help hugely.

p.s. - I'm proud to say that our place (New Zealand - Kaikoura - Redbarn Studio) is fully accessible.

Lynda

 

77 Replies

Re: Disabled access

Level 2

My cousin is very able, he lives independently in the wilds of Northern Canada. I visit him every year

What makes me mad is that there are so few facilities in Southern England for people with reduced mobility, a decent shower facility/wet room should be readily available in this day & age. It took 2 Days of research and phone calls but I think we have some where for him to stay now except for December 23rd, 24th & 25th we will improvise 

We are organising ramps, at home ....I just want him to have fun and no worries 😊

 

 

Re: Disabled access

in
Memphis, TN
Level 3

@Rebecca709 you're very sweet to want to make things easier for him. I've used a wheelchair since 1984 and things are slowly improving, but not enough to make my life easier when I travel. I used to travel with my ex who's from London. This was in the 90's and early 2000. One year we rented a caravan in Holland with 2 of his friends and drove through Belgium, France, Germany and back to Amsterdam. We went to Paris on more than one occassion, and many places in Europe had the "drain" for a toilet...we had an adventure just trying to find a toilet that I could sit on. I have some mobility, thank goodness, but I can't tell you hwo many stairs that I had to climb in pubs to use the loo. LOL! It was all a laugh...I have faced many obstacles in life just trying to mainstream. Your nephew has too. As you said- you'll make do and improvise. He's fiercly independent, and I admire that. Not a victim, and he's used to improvising. Don't worry about him and whether he'll have a good time. Including him in your holiday is more important than trying to make things perfect for him. Get his input on the ramp that you're building..include him in the plans because, despite what is written,  I have used ramps that are supposed to be compliant but the slope and angle was not user-driendly. Always get input from the wheelchair user when making any sort of accommodation. This is advice to everyone considering accessibility modifications.

I've rambled on. You'll have a wonderful time..a ramp is the perfect Christmas gift!

Re: Disabled access

in
New York, NY
Level 10

I feel as hosts that check that box are just misinformed but trying to do the right thing. Best to just ask the host who likely has good intentions. 

Re: Disabled access

in
Memphis, TN
Level 3

Maybe. Or they want more business? Who knows. It's a problem, though, for someone who is disabled to have to sort through what really is accessible. 

Re: Disabled access

in
New York, NY
Level 10

Firstly I agree - there should be a checklist - however perhaps it’s too complicated to create one (I honestly don’t know). Also and again I don’t know maybe different states have different or variations in requirements.

 

Honestly, I’m sure it happens - but I really think in most instances it’s a host that is trying to be inclusive and is simply uninformed. It’s hard for me to imagine that most hosts who are likely unaware of the proper dimensions and list access could sleep at night knowing they are going to further challeng a guest with disabilities. Maybe I’m just naive. I’m guessing in most cases it’s a ground floor unit or there’s an elevator and the host wishes to make it clear everyone is welcome - only they lack the proper knowledge. How could it possibly be to a hosts benefit? Think about it - a person with a disability shows up, struggles and understandably immediately calls Airbnb for help getting an appropriate alternative place to stay.

 

i was once asked if my stairs would be an issue for a person with COPD.  Immediately I responded that I have asthma and during an attack the stairs are the last thing I want to climb. I was informed only because I experience breathing difficulties on occasion- otherwise I might have been completely ignorant.

Re: Disabled access

in
Chicago, IL
Level 10

Guests should have an option to report a property listed as ADA compliant if it is not and Airbnb should then remove that check mark. We are held accountable for some ridiculous stats- like our location for example. For once we should be held responsible for something that matters

Re: Disabled access

in
Memphis, TN
Level 3

I don't think we should have ADA compliancy as a requirement. Too complicated. Very few houses would qualify. Too stringent. Imagine the ADA police required to check. I use a wheelchair & even ramps that are so-called ADA compliant are not wheelchair friendly. Pictures are the key.

Re: Disabled access

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

The list for disabled access in the amenities is a mess, that's one of the problems. For instance, what does it matter if the doorway to the common spaces are 32" wide if the guest bedroom is up a flight of stairs? There should just be a checklist of all the things necesary for a listing to be wheelchair-accessable and if a host can check all of those things, then they qualify for that designation. If it is done for work and family friendly categories, it seems like a no-brainer to do it for disabled.

Re: Disabled access

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

Great topic

 

 

When I went through the processes of listing my place accessibility was high on the agenda for others needs.

Alas when one looks through some of the listings claiming to be accessible for wheelchairs many simply have not taken a Tape measure to measure the very entrances to ones home.

At a guess there's probably 50% of listings that would not even qualify and could be interpreted as been misleading those with disabilities

 

Airbnb must inform and advise Hosts to check there Listings as the basic door way entry to a persons home is generally a lot smaller than 32inches.

 

There's also other factors like a step into the shower, hand rails etc also to take into account.

 

 

Having worked at the coalface of a 5 star hotel in my younger years helped me decide what to include.

 

There's also factors like the floor surface, e.g does it get particularly slippery when wet, marble does and is incredibly dangerous.

 

Outdoor areas where there may be bluestone pavers etc are also a risk to those who may be different enabled and have pre existing challenges..

Thanks for bringing this to the fore & thanks Lynda from in Kaikoura a fellow

Kiwi.

Hope things are better for you than what they were when you had the earthq

Re: Disabled access

in
Mount Barker, Australia
Level 10

I think this thread is being a little unfair. There are varying degrees of disability!

My wife Ade suffers from Multiple Sclerosis and has since 1976. Nobody on the face of this earth needs to tell me what disability means! I have had to wipe her backside when she temporarliy lost her sight! How much personal diginity does one person have to loose in this life. I have pushed her in a wheelchair along the Great Wall of China I have wrestled her up a flight of steps in a New York subway station! She cannot walk the length of a dining table unaided. She cannot walk without a walking frame, but she can walk!

Our listing has standard 2040x820 doorways which a wheelchair (and a walking frame) fits through. I have grab rails for the shower and the toilet, a shower chair, accessible taps and those other things that experience has taught me, a disabled person needs!

But, there is two steps between the Studio part of our listing and the bathroom.....Ade manages that just fine, as long as there is a handrail she can handle a few steps but all the disabled features of my listing disappeared because of those two steps.

I cater for disabled people but I don't cater for those who are totally wheelchair bound.

There needs to be a category rated system from 1 to 4 as to the level of assistance a disabled person can expect at a hosts listing....1 for guests with minor disabilities, 4 for guests who are completely wheelchair bound. This way everyone gets a crack at a listing that will suit their requirements!

 

Cheers.....Rob

Re: Disabled access

in
Memphis, TN
Level 3

I "use" a wheelchair. Sorry, but the term "wheelchair bound" sounds, to me, like someone is tied/strapped to the chair. I get it.

My idea is 1- Use wheelchair 100% and 2- Has some mobility. 3- Use wheelchair & has some mobility. I think that's simple enough.  phrase as " Use" wheelchair..because I do..and also have some mobility.

I have a guest coming who has MS. We are communicating about hercneeds prior to her stay. That is key: Communication! cheers!

Re: Disabled access

in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

Thanks Lizzie and Catherine and others for coming to the fore re Differently enabled access.

Maybe include a couple of different options, wheelchair access, mobility aid access, and we must all remember whilst some people have some challenges with injuries they don't require full "Disabled access" but have varying circumstances.

 

Some use mobililty scooters to get around and may need relevant parking of their vehicles, others may be temorarily on crutches etc.

So many apsects to be mindul of.

 

Maybe reach out to the wider community off the Airbnb community and encourage them to contirbute - it may be a timely way of getting Councils and others back on track with the importance of Private home/ room accomodation access!

Re: Disabled access

in
Memphis, TN
Level 3

Good thoughts. Someone in crutches may need to sit in the shower. I have 2 different shower chairs: one is a chair & the other has a bench attached to chair w arm rest. That one is good for those who use a transfer board or need more stability in the shower. 

And honestly, being " disabled" the new p.c. terms to me are not necessary. I am not bothered by the term disabled, but " crippled" & "wheelchair bound" do get my goat! Lol!

Re: Disabled access

Level 10

 

I agree with what you have written, Robin!

 

In my listing I do not have *accessible to disabled or to a wheelchair* - even thogh I had twice such guests.   And I stressed in my description that there is one step to the bathroom - so the flat is not suitable for infants less than 4-5 years old.

 

Yes, there are different types of disability - some can manage without any additional helping devices, as was the case with my first guest, for the second one I had to buy a chair for the bathroom and a non-sleeping mat for the bath, but he still menaged with the one step to the bath! But what he needed were havy carpets! And I have them, but thought that for the wheeelchair it is better to remove them! So the third day I had to put at least some of them back!

 

So you never know what exactly is needed for the particular case. And as it is very expensive to provide all devices eventually needed for all with any kind of disability - I think that every guest must ask the host if he provides the necessary helping things for him.

 

And to add to the problem - the city is barely suitable for disabled, the streets, the transport - nothing comparable to NY, CA and maybe Austalia as well.  

Re: Disabled access

in
Hurstpierpoint, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hi Folks,

I feel very strongly about this issue of disabled access, it has taken three years to build our site in Sussex UK and I have recieved very little advise from both the local authority and the county authority. We list two units on BNB but we have built a full wetroom /bathroom for our disabled guests about 20meters away from our lodges which are listed. The reason I have gone down this route is because it was to difficult to incorporate a truely disabled bathroom into a two bedroom lodge. We have provided wide doors etc into our lodges but to be honest I do not stress disabled access on our listings because it would be very difficult to explain the set up on AIRBNB. I think it would be very helpfull to disabled people if AIRBNB looked at their listing options and spent a little time and money improving the data they provide for disabled guests. The reason I feel so strongly about this issue is a member of my own family is disabled and i know how dificult it is for him to find accommadation! I know this is a difficult subject to discuss and I hate imposed regulations but maybe we as an organisation could take a lead in providing useable information for potential disabled guests!

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