Making your Airbnb let wheelchair friendly isn’t just something to do because it might get you more bookings, or might get you ranked higher in the search algorithm. It’s something you should do because it’s a good thing to do, and why on earth shouldn’t people in a wheelchair have access to Airbnb properties?
Think about it. It’s not just the disabled who use wheelchairs. The elderly often use them, and very sadly people who have a terminal illness are forced to use them. But equally, there are many people who do have a terminal illness who want to make the most of the time they have left, and one of their top “bucket list” choices is to travel. So do something good and make it easy for them.
So this post isn’t about making money, or a marketing exercise, see this as you being a responsible host, and you might just make a small difference to someone who has a very difficult life problem to deal with.
How to make your property wheelchair friendly
If you google “how to make an apartment wheelchair friendly” the result will likely tell you about lowering kitchen worktops, making cupboards accessible, and generally making a house fit for someone who’s disabled. It’s important to note that we are not talking about doing that here. The chances are high that someone who requires the use of a wheelchair will also be travelling with someone who is able to use facilities in the normal way.
Therefore, in fact, it is quite easy to make your place wheelchair friendly if you understand that that’s what you’re doing. You’re not converting into a full home for the non-able bodied.
Average Sizes of Wheelchairs
Of course, these sizes can and do vary depending on the type of wheelchair and the needs of the user, but these are approximate sizes according to scope.org.uk
What you need to do to make your home wheelchair friendly
Install (or have ready) a wheelchair ramp.
In order to get across the threshold of most properties, you need to buy a wheelchair ramp. These are actually not too expensive – you can find one on Amazon for £44. (Please note we are not monetizing this post for ethical reasons, so please go directly to Amazon to search).
This will help greatly where the is no straight-entrance to your property and can be prepared in advance.
Which floor is your property on?
You need to consider that if your property is not on the ground floor, then it does require a lift/elevator and the same considerations about space should be kept in mind (see chart above).
You also need to consider the needs of wheelchair users in an emergency situation. This requires proper professional advice.
Ensure your Door Ways are wide enough.
According to this site, the standard size of an internal doorway in the UK is 76 cm, which does leave enough room for most standard-sized wheelchairs.
However, things to note are:
- Wheelchair users will need extra space around a doorway to manoeuvre, so remove obstructions like armchairs if they’re too close to the doorway.
- Think about the flooring. According to Karman Healthcare, the best type of flooring for ease of use of wheelchair users is either a good quality laminate flooring or hardwood flooring. Carpet is obviously more difficult to use because there is more friction.
For those who are sick, surely one of the most important things they might want to do is travel? “Bucket List”
Even if someone who uses a wheelchair has fully able-bodied companions, one has to consider their dignity and privacy. Of course, this is particularly important in the bathroom.
Consider the following:
- Moving the toilet to an area which gives the wheelchair user more space. You may achieve this by relocating a sink to a corner, for example.
- Putting up hand-rails around the toilet area is extremely important.
- Consider a shower with a) easy access and b) a sit-down area so that people can wash in comfort. This would not be a difficult conversion for bathrooms where the shower floor is at the same height as the rest of the floor.
- Consider also an emergency alarm in the bathroom in case of difficulties.
Providing high-quality services for the disabled is a real issue now. Airbnb has a specific filter to check for Accessible listings. And one can only assume that this will become a bigger and bigger priority and therefore to some extent, this will be a unique selling point for your property.