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A game-changing booking website designed to help 1bn people with a disability enjoy accessible accommodation that can suit their specific needs and allow them to travel worry-free

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Handiscover (A game-changing booking website designed to help 1bn people with a disability enjoy accessible accommodation that can suit their specific needs and allow them to travel worry-free)

Reporting period: 2021-06-01 to 2022-05-31

Quality accessibility data is the prerequisite that enables people with a disability to live their daily life or take holidays and business trips comfortably and independently. As the EU population ages and experiences an increase in chronic diseases, the number of people with a disability is rising significantly and represented in 2020, one in five Europeans will have a disability [EC]. Lack of reliable information on accessibility is the biggest barrier to travel from a user perspective, rating even higher than physical barriers [EC]. Existing solutions cannot meet user needs, because dedicated travel agencies are geographically narrow and unable to up-scale, and mainstream booking systems (e.g. booking.com Airbnb) provide only limited, often incorrect, unverified accessibility data.

Overcoming our competitor’s limitations, we developed Handiscover, the world’s 1st online booking website based on an innovative system that merges a unique assessment model with a remote quality assurance verification.

Our business model is based on commissions, so it is volume dependent. Hence, we need to: 1.) Expand our accessibility categories by including non-motor disabilities (which are 74% of the segment); 2.) Automate the hotel registration process via a Hotel Management System. This is crucial to a) allow us to superscale our hotel supply; b) set up the platform for future developments; c) ensure accessibility data is correctly recorded, managed and updated.

Handiscover was established with the goal to enable people of all disabilities or with specific accessibility needs to live their life and to travel worry-free.

With covid affecting our project from day1, we adapted the scope of the project to help people in their daily life, adapting the solutions that we had planned to develop for the sake of the travel industry, to make them work for other industries having an impact for our end-users on a daily basis, like retail, venues etc

The last but crucial step to achieve success in this market is the ability to upscale by attracting more end users and property owners
We started the project by defining new disabilities to target and developing our accessibility questionnaires to address them and the respective algoritms needed to classify properties. We then went developing our Accessibility Management System in order to be able to onboard corporate customers both in the hotel industry and outside, as Covid challenged our progress in the Travel space. In parallel to that we developed our Guest Accessibility Passport to better understand our users needs, we worked on our website webbaccessibility, reaching now an index of 100 for which is world class, in order to enable all disabilities to fully access our different websites.

Our consumer iOS app is soon to be submitted to Apple too and expected to be live by beginning of August. With our Accessibility Management System now live and optimised, we have been able to develop extra features well adapted to hotels and the other industries we had to focus on.
We have now at the end of the project, 29 contracts signed representing 445 properties assessed and another 125 to come in June 2022
Our accessibility questionnaires have now been developed to address now both mobility, visual, hearing, cognitive impairment and allergies for both Vacation Rentals/Hotels and other industries creating a real unique position of accessibility expertise. Our web accessibility is now really world class both for our marketplace (index 100), our Business-to-Business Accessibility Management Program website (index 95). Our app will successfully enable to both share our content and our booking engine with the User Experience expected in mobiles. This should enable us to take the lead when it comes to disabled travel once COVID 19 gives our community the possibility to travel again. The Accessibility Management System is now live for both hotels, offices, retail and shopping malls. That shall enable us to reach our long term goal of mapping accessibility of any building anywhere in the whole world!
Front end web page showing accessiblity information
Front end web showing 100 index of Web accessibility of handiscover.com
Web page showing accessibility information for shopping centre
The Handiscover Management System Tool
Front end web page for Webaccessibility - showing 95 index for accessibility.handiscover.com