“Our vision for Accomable is to provide an efficient, one-stop shop, so anyone with a disability or mobility problem can enjoy travel in the UK and abroad.”
The disabled travel market is estimated to be worth £12 billion, but there is still a lack of provision for disabled people in the sector. Many find it time-consuming and frustrating to book the perfect holiday.
Two experienced disabled travellers, Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley, decided to tackle this problem by founding Accomable — a new online platform that helps anyone with a disability or a mobility problem find accessible holiday properties across the world. They initially set up Disability Horizons, a travel blog with over 40,000 readers per month, but their extensive travel experience led them to believe they could offer more than advice.
Based in the United Kingdom, both co-founders have spinal muscular atrophy and use motorised wheelchairs. Although they love to travel, they explained that they have always found it difficult to arrange accessible accommodation and adapted vehicles that fit their needs. Madipalli told the IPF:
“The final straw came when we took six months to go travelling. Seeing the world was brilliant but the logistics were definitely not.”
After the trip, the two decided to build a platform that would make travel easy for anyone with a disability. Madipalli said: “Think of us as the Airbnb for the disabled.”
However, launching this new platform was not easy.
“I quit my job as a lawyer, put myself through an MBA at Oxford University, even taught myself how to code,” explained Madipalli.
The pair managed to launch the website in April and now display over 150 accessible properties in over 15 countries. Madipalli knows there are other tour operators that already offer holidays for disabled people, but he thinks these can often feel outdated.
“Accessible rooms are sometimes marked up on some websites, but they can be hard to find and their information can often be untrustworthy.”
Disabled people can use Airbnb and other websites to search for accessible properties, but Accomable provides more specialised features. Users can see if the properties have step-free access, roll in the showers, grab rails in the bathrooms and other important features. In the future, Madipalli and Sibley hope to offer transport, specialist equipment hire and medical supplier details.
Speaking about their ultimate goal, Madipalli said: “Our vision for Accomable is to provide an efficient, one-stop shop, so anyone with a disability or mobility problem can enjoy travel in the UK and abroad.”