Steps, beds that are either too high or too low, doors that are too narrow, and lack of accessible bathrooms are just some of the difficulties that come into play when trying to book a wheelchair accessible hotel room or vacation rental. Srin Madipalli, a former London lawyer with spinal muscular atrophy, is hoping to change that as the co-founder and CEO of Accomable, a new booking platform that helps anyone with a physical disability find and book accessible vacation rentals.
“I’ve always loved to travel but found the logistics of planning a trip with a wheelchair incredibly difficult,” Madipalli says. “I’d often arrive at an accommodation that was advertised as accessible only to find steps to the front door!”
Leaving his job as a lawyer, Madipalli earned an MBA at Oxford University and learned coding in order to build the prototype for Accomable. Although it initially started as a United Kingdom and European company, Accomable is now making a big move to the U.S., with a growing number of properties available in the San Francisco area and plans to soon expand throughout the country. It currently lists more than 1,100 places to stay in over 60 countries worldwide.
Access Features are Accomable’s Focus, not an Afterthought
“Our minimum requirements are that each property must have step-free access, at least one step-free bedroom and bathroom, and that the step-free bathroom has at least one adaptation. We extensively list and verify each property’s accessible features, using photo and video technology, to offer as much information to our customers as possible,” he says. “We visit properties all of the time (some of our team are based abroad, too), and we often tap into the disabled community.”
The company is working on adding everything from accessible transportation to fully planned travel excursions, with the ultimate goal of making Accomable a one-stop shop for easy accessible travel.
“Our mission is to help anyone go anywhere. We want to make vacations fun and stress-free, whether it’s your first-time holidaying in a wheelchair, you need additional care or are traveling as a family,” Madipalli says. “To do this, our ethos is to be as open and transparent as possible, giving our customers all the information, so they can find the right stay for their needs. Most people on our team have a mobility issue, so we understand the challenges our customers face.”