Airbnb Improves Search Filters for its Accommodations

Airbnb said in a blog post that it has improved its search filters and accessibility review process to make it simpler for persons with impairments to discover lodgings on its marketplace.

Hosts may now upload photos of their homes’ accessibility features, which will be reviewed by “a specialist team of Airbnb agents” to see if they’re acceptable for persons with disabilities. Airbnb states on its accessibility review website that this team collaborates “with engineers, designers, and others throughout the organization,” but it doesn’t specify whether or if they’re trained or equipped to spot accessibility issues.

Suzanne Edwards, Airbnb’s head of hosting accessibility standards, provided a more detailed response. She stated, “Airbnb agents are educated according on a stringent set of accessibility photo criteria.” “For example, if a Host wants to list an accessible parking spot — a private driveway at least 11 feet wide or a parking spot with clear signage designated for a person with disabilities — they must show the parking spot’s proximity to the guest entrance, as well as the signage or markings for a designated accessible space, or capture the entire driveway with a parked vehicle if possible to show its width.”

According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, the company’s team has already examined and certified 100,000 accessibility improvements in 25,000 different houses across the world.

Airbnb’s search criteria for accessibility features have also been modified. On the search screen, several options, such as those for step-free bedroom access and accessible parking spots, will now be shown more prominently. By introducing a more exact dimension, Airbnb made the filters for broad entryways a little more explicit. Airbnb, for example, modified “broad entry to bedroom” to “bedroom entrance wider than 32 inches.” These 13 filters are still somewhat restricted at the moment.

Airbnb also said that it is enhancing its 11 accessibility criteria to make it simpler for visitors to locate accessible Experiences near their rental that include features like sign language, accessible toilets, and activities that take place on a level surface, among other things. Additionally, Airbnb is requiring hosts to submit extensive information about the accessibility steps they are implementing, which is subsequently reviewed for “description quality.” Each Experience’s accessibility characteristics will be explicitly noted in the listing.

In 2017, a research indicated that Airbnb hosts were more likely to refuse disabled guests, and in 2018, the firm released an accessibility upgrade with 21 new filters that allow guests to search for houses with wider doorways, accessible toilets, and other features. The number of filters has now been reduced to 13, which seems odd.

Previously available filters, such as “large clearance to bed,” “accessible height toilet,” and “handheld showerhead,” are no longer available. The firm chose to simplify the list, according to an Airbnb representative. “To better serve our guests, and with input from our community and partners, we have modified the criteria to make it simpler for visitors to identify homes that meet their needs,” the spokesperson said. One of the modifications is a simplification to focus on the most important and frequently used filters.”

Airbnb began asking hosts to provide images of accessibility features in their stays in 2019, but an update has been long needed. “We’ve been trying to enhance our offers with input from our community and specialists from the disability community for a long time, and we’ll keep doing so,” Edwards told reporters.

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