‘Accomable’ May Be the Airbnb of Accessible Travel
The service finds accessible properties around the world. Its simple mission, according to the website, is “to enable anyone to go anywhere.”
The founders of the service, Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, both have spinal muscular atrophy and use motorized wheelchairs. The pair, who met as children at a SMA support group, created Accomable after discovering the need for it firsthand — they’re avid world-travelers.
They created the site so all accessible properties can be listed in one place, including detailed information about the property and available services.
See an example of an Accomable listing below:
Accomable, which was launched in June 2015, was given some support early on from the Skoll Foundation, a charity founded by Jeffrey Skoll, eBay’s first president, which supports start-ups with a social purpose. Madipalli, a former London lawyer, did the coding for the website himself.
The site hopes to make life easier for all people with disabilities and mobility issues, including the elderly. The service is also seeking to eventually involve accessible car hire companies, medical equipment hire companies and disability insurance providers, all on one platform, CNN reported.
Sibley has recently left the venture, but Madipalli is now talking with investment syndicates about further funding.
“What we’re trying to do is create the same experience for a disabled person booking travel, as an everyday person would have,” Madipalli told CNN. “For some people that may be this mind-blowing effect, for others it might just be the chance to put their feet up under the sun.”
Mary Evelyn Smith, a Mighty contributor and school librarian from Columbus, Ohio, has a a son who uses a wheelchair, and is excited by Accomable. Smith told The Mighty finding accessible places to stay can be tricky. Simeon, 3, has spina bifida and uses a manual wheelchair so the Smith family normally opts for hotels to ensure accessibility. But, Smith says it would be nice to have the option of staying in a bed and breakfast or a condo.
Smith also believes a helpful feature of the site will be its clear definition of what “accessible” means, which she says is often misinterpreted by renters. She recalls an incident once where her family booked an “accessible” beach house, only to show up and find several stairs leading to the elevator.
“Since my son is still young and small enough to be carried if needed, travel isn’t a huge issue just yet, but looking to the future I know it will be a concern,” Smith told The Mighty. “Even at this young age, my son shouldn’t have to sacrifice his independence to experience the joy of travel.”
“I want my son to be able to explore his world and travel as much as he’d like and I want him to be able to do that independently,” she added. “This is a great step towards making that possible.”