Airbnb Accessibility: What You Need to Know About Hosting Guests with Disabilities

airbnb accessibility

By The Hospitable Team

The Airbnb platform is prevalent among travelers looking for unique accommodations where they can live like locals in a home away from home, and many Airbnb guests have specific accessibility needs.

To welcome and support the estimated 1.3 billion people in the world who have a disability, Airbnb has implemented several features and developed a set of guidelines that hosts should follow to ensure compliance with the Airbnb Accessibility Policy. So, how should you improve the experience for guests with accessibility needs?

Airbnb Accessibility Policy

Airbnb clearly states that its diverse community is built on the principles of inclusion, belonging, and respect. The company’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere, so they are committed to making travel accessible and enjoyable for people with disabilities and various accessibility needs.

Airbnb Accessibility Policy states that guests who require reasonable accommodations and services should not be discriminated against or denied service while using Airbnb. And the Airbnb Nondiscrimination Policy doesn’t allow hosts to turn down a guest simply because they have a disability. If a host doesn’t comply with these policies, Airbnb may take steps up to suspending or removing them from the Airbnb platform.

However, hosts may provide factually accurate information about the listing’s accessibility features or lack thereof. This way, guests with disabilities can assess whether the property suits their needs.

Making your beach house or a cabin in a wood accessible for people with disabilities isn’t just the right thing to do because everyone has the right to enjoy their vacations. It can significantly increase your potential customer base and result in more bookings and positive reviews.

Managing your Airbnb properties when you have a lot of guests can be rather time-consuming, so a smart move is to streamline this process using vacation rental software like Hospitable. With Hospitable, you can automate almost all your hosting routine and put your STR business on autopilot.

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Airbnb encourages hosts and guests to communicate about reasonable accommodations before booking. Hosts should try to accommodate a guest’s reasonable requests around accessibility needs.

Airbnb allows guests to request reasonable accommodations at a stay that would help them access a stay and communicate during a reservation. Hosts can make a reasonable counteroffer to a guest’s original reasonable accommodation request.

Airbnb also allows hosts to refuse certain unreasonable or unattainable requests when they

  • Increase the safety risk to the host or other people
  • Require a structural modification to a building or listing
  • Require the host to take on added responsibilities that are time-intensive or put a significant physical or financial burden on them
  • Ask a to violate local laws or HOA/building requirements

Airbnb hosts cannot refuse a guest’s reasonable request for accommodations when the request is specific, clearly expressed, and made with sufficient notice. Keep in mind that hosts are not allowed to commit to providing reasonable accommodation and fail to fulfill it at the time of the reservation.

Airbnb also has a clear policy on emotional support animals and service animals that may accompany guests during a stay. When a service animal accompanies a guest, Airbnb doesn’t allow hosts to refuse a reservation or charge pet or other additional fees.

However, when a guest travels with an emotional support animal, hosts may charge pet fees or decline the presence of emotional support animals during a stay. Still, in some jurisdictions, hosts may be required to accept emotional support animals, for example, in New York or California.

Hosting Airbnb Guests with Accessibility Needs

Travelers with limited mobility sometimes use wheelchairs or walkers, and they want to know how well your rental can accommodate them before booking a stay. Now, Airbnb guests filter searches for accessibility features. So, if you showcase what your vacation rental property offers, your listing may appear in more searches. This way, you’ll increase your chances of getting booked.

Adding accessibility features to your listing will help you create an inviting space for guests with disabilities and make your place stand out. You’ll also be required to highlight each accessibility feature with at least one clear photo. Then, the Airbnb team will manually review the images to ensure they meet the company’s guidelines.

These are the accessibility features you can add to your listing:

  • Accessible parking spot
  • Lit path to the guest entrance
  • Step-free path to the guest entrance
  • Step-free guest entrance
  • Step-free entryways to rooms
  • Guest entrance wider than 32 inches/81.28 centimeters
  • Step-free shower
  • Toilet and shower grab bars
  • Shower or bath chair
  • Ceiling or mobile hoists
  • Swimming pool hoist

Ensure your listing includes accurate information about available accessibility features in the space and surrounding property, and communicate with your guests via messages to discuss the details. If your guests have any questions about your listing, answer them as soon as possible to help your guests understand whether your space is right for them and make them feel welcome.

It can be challenging to be available to your guests 24/7, but if you opt for Hospitable, it will help ensure fast and clear communication, so your guests will always receive the information they need when they need it.

Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.

We will detect questions and answer on your behalf; send fully custom messages triggered by events, and much more!

Airbnb Listing with Accessibility Features

Now Airbnb has an Adapted Category, which highlights listings worldwide confirmed to be suitable for wheelchair users. The category includes an array of unique vacation rentals, including mountain cabins, luxury villas, and even treehouses and houseboats. Many of the listings featured here are Guest Favorites.

Every home listed in this section has a step-free entry to the home and step-free access to at least one bedroom and bathroom, plus at least one accessibility amenity in the bathroom. However, guests can also use accessibility search filters to find listings that meet their needs in other Airbnb categories.

Let’s look at some of the top-rated Airbnb properties with accessibility features.

Airbnb accessible entrance

Log cabin in Bostic, North Carolina, United States

This cozy log cabin is a perfect place to escape the city and relax in the tranquility of the mountains while enjoying the amenities of modern life. It features rustic chic furnishings and everything you need for a wonderful vacation. Accessibility features include an accessible parking spot, a wide, step-free entrance with a lit path, a step-free bedroom on the ground floor, a shower with grab bars and a seat fixed to the wall, and a step-free outdoor deck.

Off-grid house in Brålanda, Sweden

With its own energy and food production, this uniquely designed house is a perfect place for those who care about sustainability. The house is surrounded by nature, and guests can enjoy a greenhouse garden with Mediterranean plants. Verified accessibility features include an accessible parking spot with a step-free path to the guest entrance, step-free access to the bedroom, and step-free access to a bathroom wider than 32 inches.

Airbnb accessible shower

Chalet in Grand Étang, Canada

This secluded chalet, handcrafted from local white cedar and decorated with works by local artists, is located on a hilltop and offers unparalleled vistas. It’s a barrier-free accommodation with an open-concept living space that is easy to navigate. The listing has 20 accessibility features, including an accessible parking spot, a step-free path to the guest entrance, a step-free entrance to bedrooms, the living room, the kitchen, and the bathroom, and fixed grab bars for the toilet and shower.

airbnb major disruptive events policy

Airbnb Major Disruptive Events Policy: What Hosts Need to Know

Airbnb has updated its policy for disruptive events, such as natural disasters that can strike without warning, affecting guests’ travel plans and preventing you from hosting. The policy explains how the platform handles cancellations and refunds and prevents reservations.

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