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Why it matters: The changes, announced as part of the Airbnb 2021 Winter Release, include a new accessibility review process in which hosts can submit photos of the accessibility features in their home. An Airbnb agent will then manually review the pictures. This allows guests to be confident that the features listed by a host are indeed present on the property and avoid any surprised when they arrive.
Airbnb said that to date, it has reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of 100,000 accessibility features in 25,000 homes around the globe.
Airbnb has also improved its accessibility search filters across 13 categories, making it easier for users to get specific details about various features.
In many situations, the devil is in the details. For example, a listing may note that it has a wide entrance to the master bedroom but that doesn’t really paint a complete picture. Instead, Airbnb has changed it to “bedroom entrance wider than 32 inches” per the Americans with Disabilities Act’s minimum requirement for accessible doorways.
Additionally, Airbnb has updated its experiences section to more clearly highlight those with accessibility features. Users can now select from 11 filters when searching experiences, easily singling out those where a host offers sign language or an activity with no stairs, for example.
Like the photo submissions, hosts of accessible experiences need to submit a detailed written description of each accessibility feature, which is then manually reviewed by the Airbnb team.
Those with accessibility needs, or those traveling with others with such needs, will no doubt appreciate Airbnb’s efforts in this area.