There are milestone moments in life, and college graduations rank high on the scale. It’s a great achievement and time for celebration - for the student, certainly, but also for proud parents, grandparents, siblings and significant others who have made the arduous journey supporting and encouraging the new graduate through the trials and tribulations of higher education. Family should be included in the celebration, no doubt.
As I write this, commencement ceremonies are taking place across the nation. Families are on the move traveling sometimes great distances to be a part of the momentous occasion. My friend, Angelique, was just telling me earlier of her family’s trip to see her daughter graduate from the University of Arkansas. She excitedly told me all about their wonderful experience in this shared family moment, and had photos of smiling faces to prove it. But she mentioned one thing that wasn’t so stellar, and what made an otherwise awesome family experience less so.
Upon arriving to their northwest Arkansas AirBNB rental, they were faced with an obstacle. Her mother-in-law, an otherwise spry and ambulatory woman in her late 70’s, could not negotiate the steep stairs to reach what was to be her bedroom for the weekend. Angelique and her husband made a quick decision to allow her the use of the master bedroom, which was on the first floor. However, that presented another problem in that the master bathroom did not have a walk-in shower, and her mother-in-law could not access the step over tub as there were no grab bars. The family ended up renting an additional space nearby just to accommodate her mother-in-law for the weekend. This, of course, was not only inconvenient and costly, but also separated the mother-in-law from the rest of the family during a large portion of their otherwise spectacular family weekend. The family lost out as they were robbed of time spent in each other’s company. Needless to say, the family will not be choosing that location in the future, and I highly doubt they would recommend it to others traveling with elderly family members.
The property owner also loses out on great potential revenue only on account of a failure to make an easily remediable and needed renovation. With just a bit more thought into accommodation – something as simple as the installation of gab bars or the renovation to convert a standard tub into a walk-in shower or accessible tub – the experience my friend’s family had could have been so much better, and a negative experience could be avoided for all future renters, providing a better return on investment for the property owner.
It’s important to remember accessibility is not just for those with apparent mobility impairments. Accessible features are of benefit for seniors, young adults, parents, and young ones with or without an impairment. When a short term rental property is truly accessible, it’s good for everyone, even the property owner, and allows all to live their best life.