Online disability-friendly accommodation specialist Accomable has been snapped up by Airbnb for an undisclosed sum.
Childhood friends Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, who both have spinal muscular atrophy, launched Accomable just over two years ago “less as a company or product but more as a mission and a dream”.
The pair won a grant from Oxford University and raised £300,000 from a group of investors. They have grown the Accomable inventory to include properties in more than 60 countries.
Accomable’s website will be wound down in the next few months and be redirected to Airbnb, which has pledged to expand the number of accessible properties worldwide.
Madipalli, Accomable chief executive, said: “I see this as just the beginning of something that will be a profound game changer in the world of accessibility. I will continue to be an advocate and champion for better accessibility and for the use of technology to help disabled people.”
He added: “Despite our best intentions, we sometimes struggled due to a lack of resources to cater for users with disabilities beyond those which are mobility based. This greatly frustrated me. At Airbnb, we can now drive forward all existing efforts to make sure it can accommodate as wide a variety of disabilities as possible.”
Airbnb has already added a feature that enables accommodation owners to highlight step-free access and homes wide enough for wheelchairs.
Elsewhere, Aito has welcomed Enable Holidays to its membership. The Birmingham-based operator, founded in 2004, specialises in holidays for the mobility-impaired, plus slow walkers and those “looking for an easier way to get around”.
Lynne Kirby, Enable managing director, said: “Aito’s values perfectly match our own.”