Finding completely accessible short-term rentals (STRs) can be extremely challenging for people with disabilities traveling across the United States.
Some STRs might advertise that they are accessible because they merely have an elevator, yet they don’t understand everything else needed to make it truly accessible, whether it be a hoyer lift, shower chair or wider doorways to accommodate wheelchairs.
Disability advocate and Conway, Arkansas native Lorraine Berry Woodward experienced this first-hand, unable to return to her hometown since graduating college due to a worsening disability and the lack of accessible STRs.
“I need more than a standard wheelchair accessible hotel room,” said Woodward, “and nothing more was available in a short term rental.”
Recognizing this was not an isolated incident, Woodward developed ‘Becoming rentABLE,’ a television show and social media platform dedicated to advocating for and creating accessible STR properties across the nation.
“I intend for this show to be a source of inspiration and a solution to remedy this issue. People deserve to live their best lives, and that includes people with disabilities while traveling,” Woodward said.
An accessible property means having no barriers for anyone; an elderly relative, a family member with a physically disability or a friend who has been temporarily disabled. Each would have access to something that everyone should have access to – a place where memories can be made.
Currently in the process of renovating a property meant to be the group’s gold-standard fully accessible STR property, the Becoming rentABLE television show will take viewers through the renovation, construction, and final evolution while highlighting what makes it fully accessible. This property will be exemplary in its use of accessibility features for those with disabilities pertaining to, but not limited to, mobility, hearing, vision, self-care, and cognition. With the completion of this STR property, developers and property owners will have an industry-leading model property that they can look towards when setting their own STR property goals.
Working in partnership with numerous disability organizations, including Easterseals, Becoming rentABLE aims to engage their constituents in the distribution of surveys and participation in focus groups.
“We are excited to be a part of Becoming rentABLE,” Ron Ekstrand, CEO of Easterseals Arkansas, said about the initiative. “Lorraine Woodward shares the vision of Easterseals in providing full equity, inclusion, and access for people with disabilities, their families, and the greater community in all aspects of society including travel, vacations, and short-term rental properties.”
Becoming rentABLE hopes to gain feedback, via a survey, on the importance of certain accessibility features to be included in their fully accessible STRs. They believe this survey to be an important tool as it allows for more voices to be heard concerning the issue Becoming rentABLE is so eager to fix.
To complete the survey, go to www.becomingrentable.com