Access Earth app aims to revolutionise hotel stays for people with disabilities
Travelling is meant to be fun and exciting, but people with disabilities face numerous challenges, which can make it a tense and harrowing affair. One of the main challenges faced is lack of accessibility.
Mobile app Access Earth hopes to change that. The app works like the TripAdvisor and allows people with disabilities to rate hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.
It all started when Matt McCann, Founder, Access Earth, had a bad experience with a hotel that he had booked. The hotel claimed to be an accessible one, but when McCann reached there, he found he could not even roll his wheelchair through the entrance.
How it works
Users of Access Earth can answer a yes or no to questions that relate to the accessibility of hotels including their bathrooms, stairs, elevators and other facilities. They can also leave a review based on their experiences. Many hotels claim that they are disabled-friendly and accessible, when they have no idea what wheelchair accessibility is all about.
However, Shama Noorani Choudhary of Enable Travels has a mixed response to what the app promises.
Most times, it is a person without a disability who goes to hotels and checks on accessibility features. They just wouldn't know the requirements of a wheelchair user or a person with some other disability. Many times the beds are too high or low, bathrooms do not have railings and doorways are narrow. I don't believe that such an app would work unless the team has clearly gone to each hotel and understood what their accessibility features are like. -Shama Noorani Choudhary, Enable Travels
McCann, a software engineer has started Access Earth with two other founders. The app primarily focuses on people with locomotor disabilities.
Simon George, is the Founder of Specialcare Holidays, a venture that organizes holidays for people with disabilities in Kerala. George says the app will be of some benefit to disabled travelers.
"I believe this app is going to help many people who have mobility issues. When we organize holidays, there are hardly any restaurants that have accessibility features. That is why we decided to have our own facilities including lifts and accessible vans to move around", says he says
Whether or not Access Earth changes travel for people with disabilities is too early to say. What is great though is that accessible travel is something we are hearing about more and more these days.