About 10% of people in the United Kingdom and 20% of the US population are affected by some sort of mobility issue. These are people who still want their autonomy respected, have a will to live and experience, and are potentially interested in your vacation rental properties. Providing to this demographic will open your Airbnb space to thousands more.
Not only do you show consideration, but you are allowing your vacation rental properties to have a step up over the competition. Renting out vacation rental properties can be a potentially lucrative stream of income – and you’re not the only one who is financially savvy and dipping into this industry. There are thousands of vacation rentals worldwide, but only a few have the required accessibility features to make it more equipped for disabled people. “Accomadable” is one company that connects disabled travelers with the appropriate lodging. It has galvanized this community, with Airbnb actually purchasing the startup in November 2017. Along with the purchase, Airbnb also revamped its accessibility features on its website, making it more inclusive. Comprehensive lodging is the future – be part of that.
However, opening your rental space to this community is not without its unique challenges. With a bit of planning and foresight, you can easily convert your rental home into one that is inclusive, and safe.
Making Your Vacation Rental Properties More Accommodating
What does it mean to universalize the kitchen in your vacation rental properties? Universal design is about making space safer and easier to use. For example, raising the height of certain sinks or countertops can be useful for those who have trouble bending down. For those who are on a mobility scooter or wheelchair, you can lower the height of tabletops for more comfortable use. Include sections of counters of different heights so that multiple guests can take advantage of the space. Lever handles on the kitchen faucet, and pulls for knobs for cabinets and doors can also make the kitchen more accessible.
Be ready to provide a wheelchair. Even though those with a mobility issue will typically travel with the aids that they need for everyday life, there may be times where they want to transfer to a different type of wheelchair. The traditional wheelchair can complement a mobility scooter, for example.
Focus on bathroom safety. The bathroom of a home has the potential to be dangerous not only for those who have a disability but also for able-bodied individuals. There’s water, soaps, and sleek surfaces – the ideal scenario for an accident. Install grab bars in the bathroom, making it easier for people to get in and out of the tub, or secure themselves against slips. Install a nonskid surface throughout the bathroom, and make sure that the fixtures are at a universal height.
Retrofits: Modifications For Vacation Rental Properties
There are several ways that you can retrofit features to make your vacation rental properties more accessible. Here are a few examples of better serving those with a mobility issue.
- Stairlifts. If you have a multi-story home, then it’s going to be very difficult for a person with mobility issues to maneuver the space. Typically, the two options include installing an elevator or a stair lift. However, installing an elevator is not only expensive, but it requires the proper structure and space that your home may not have. Stairlifts, on the other hand, install in just hours.
- Install a pool lift. A pool lift will lift guests with a wheelchair into the pool and out. Even though it is an investment, it is one that will pay out in dividends as your vacation rental properties will truly be unique.
- A bath chair. A bath chair has a stable frame and the base that sticks to the bathtub floor. This makes it a lot easier and safer to get in and out of the bathtub.
Do you have the space to make your vacation home Accessible?
The Department of Justice has guidelines for accessibility standards called “ADA standards for accessible design.” If you are purchasing a home to try to turn it into a rental property for those with accessibility issues, then it’s essential to heed these regulations. Some of the key recommendations include buying a home with larger bedrooms, wider hallways and doorways, and zero-step entrances. The rules also recommend a larger bathroom. Even though your current home can be renovated to adhere to these guidelines, it is sometimes more feasible to buy the appropriate property for those who are just starting out.