BELLINGHAM, WA. — When Daman Wandke called a hotel to confirm that it could accommodate him, the experience became a struggle due to a lack of understanding his access needs which may have been enhanced by his speech impairment. However, the incident led him to recognize the need for a platform to communicate which places meet which accessibility needs.
Wandke is the CEO and founder of AbiliTrek, a travel service provider he created to cater to travelers with disabilities. His team is now launching a new mobile-friendly service that allows users to locate and rate the accessibility and accommodations of restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, attractions and more.
After months of planning, coding, designing and testing, we, at AbiliTrek, are excited to announce that the beta of our search and review platform is finally available to the public! We have built our platform with the understanding that accessibility is not “one size fits all” and cannot be placed within a box; not everyone has the same needs. At this time, the information of what is accessible (and even more specific, where it is accessible based on one’s needs) is not readily available. However, AbiliTrek is housing this data and the more reviews collected, the better AbiliTrek will be from a search and review standpoint. When the right accessibility needs are met, independence is granted.
About the Beta
AbiliTrek hopes that users will rate and review the accessibility of locations in their hometown and while traveling (similar to Yelp, TripAdvisor). With others doing the same, our community will have readily available information on what businesses are and are not accessible to them uniquely as well. Users have the capability to create highly-customized profiles indicating the types of accessibility and accommodations they require, including accessible entrances and bathrooms, Braille signage, as well as ASL interpreters. This platform is innovative in that it takes a person’s accessibility needs into account when rating, reviewing and searching places of interest.
How to Access and Use the Beta
To check out AbiliTrek’s new platform, go to their website at https://www.abilitrek.com. In the upper right corner of the home page click “Sign Up”. This will allow you to create a personalized accessibility profile where you can set your personalized accessibility preferences (if applicable). After that you can search for any business based on your accessibility preferences. If you would like to just search for a location, it is not required to create a profile. However, if you do not have a profile, the accessibility of any location will not be able to take your access needs into account. Once you search for a location, you can submit a review to help others know if that location is accessible.
From the CEO
“At AbiliTrek, our mission is to empower people with disabilities to trek without boundaries,” says Wandke. It is his belief and hope that this new service will bring his company one step closer to that goal.