I have an idea and I would love to know what you think. I am a parent of an autistic adult (who, as a child was also “medically fragile”). Over the years I have had “Wouldn’t it be a Godsend if there was somewhere we could go that was designed with families like ours in mind” a million times. I totally understand the concerns renters have about the possible negative outcomes of hosting ‘special needs families’ but there are SO many of us! I would love to collaborate with a property owner to not only design a place but also to function as a parahost (invented word but it’s perfect, right?) sort of like a nanny on-site as part of a rental package. What do you think?
Turns out my adult child is also AS. We don’t have kids here, but it seems to be a magnet for people in recovery, with PTSD, etc. Is there an elegant way to say that this is a safe, cool, supportive, eccentric and caring place?
I think it’s a great idea because I know families that avoid travel just because of the complications. I have no idea if it’s a great business proposition, though, and it sounds like it could be a lot of work to get it going. Good luck!
Certainly in the UK we already have a number of spaces that have been designed for families like yours in mind. Not sure where you are based but if in the US i would be surprised if you didn’t have something similar
Who are you proposing would pay for any adaptions needed for said property with your business concept. I also don’t quite understand your concept of having a ‘nanny’ on site.
I think it would be a great idea for families to know that particular properties were welcoming to people from challenging backgrounds like that. I recently had a young man stay with his carer. He had searched for and booked my place himself so I was very glad it met his expectations of being a quite locale with a friendly dog and cat on the premises.
I have done volunteer work with men with intellectual disability before so have some training and experience. I am not sure everyone could cope with all the challenging behaviours given it is not considered acceptable (in Australia) to divulge people’s personal medical information to third parties. I was only ever told details about one of the guys in my volunteer group and that was only because he had some “behaviours of concern” that I needed to know about to avoid triggering him. The others I could personally conjecture about but after a while I soon just saw them as individuals rather than a medical condition anyway.
I told my guest and his carer to tell their friends about my place but so far no more takers maybe after winter.
Thanks for your feedback, Brian:). So true, many just avoid traveling.
Thanks for your thoughts, and the links you shared. I imagine offering the assistance such as the ‘holiday help’ in the links but also creating a space to accommodate the needs too. Very often, places that are “autism friendly” are hardly accommodating. When families know of a place they share it in every social circle/social platform so other families will know something out there exists. It’s really that rare.
I think the cost of on-site care should be built into the cost of the rental. Families with ‘special needs’ know it’s an expense. They also know they’ll not be able to call babysitting agencies for on-the-spot care like typical families can if necessary (or, heck, just desired). There is so much more.
I appreciated reading your post:)
I’m glad your experience was so positive! Your comfort level, training, and experience working with men with intellectual disabilities prepared you for welcoming your guest. I’m sure that contributed greatly to the success of the experience for everybody involved. I think that’s usually the component that’s missing with ‘disability-friendly’ places. It’s not enough to alter lighting, limit noise, or have unbreakable furniture and locks high on the doors, etc. When external agents (ie travel agents) do the planning for accommodations, they can’t ensure the kinds of ‘service’ and hostmanship you provided. I have had folks who provided excellent service to my family ask me (at the time, or later with follow up) to recommend them. Believe me, I was happy to do that in parent groups, on social media, message boards, and the Chamber of Commerce, etc. So, do ask:) I hope word spreads about you. Take care:)
I think it is a wonderful idea but I would be concerned about the liability for the nanny on site that might not be a certified therapist. Should something happen under the wacthful eye of the nanny, would she be liable. Here in the USA people are sue happy.
I have a large lower level which we are slowly but surely adapting to make it as accessible and “spectrum friendly” as possible. This is simply because this is the type of guest that we encourage (as I have previously described our hopes of providing free respite for families with PTSD & TBI). We also get regular inquiries about whether we are wheelchair accessible, and about 1 in every 3 families That has come has had a family member somewhere on the autism or Asperger’s spectrum. I have purchased a Sensory Swing, and toned down my decor a bit, and have a transport chair. Whenever I add a feature I do it with accessibility or sensory input in mind. It will be far from perfect and a “learn as you go” project. However, I think that large families will be just so grateful to have a pet friendly, accessible place to go, especially near the beach, that we may just be able to make some people happy. Oh, also, I would certainly welcome advice or input on the project. I have no experience other than friendships & some caregiving time, so I could always use helpful feedback in the endeavor.
You are spot on - there are a whole host of families who would like to take a holiday, but when you have to factor in finding a place that caters for “special needs” it can be a minefield.
If you could make your vacation rental that place I’m sure many a family would be appreciative of your efforts. Making your pad accessible and “spectrum friendly” will certainly help you to stand out from the crowd. Have you space for a sensory area and a chill-out zone (maybe a den)?
Perhaps you could look into adding information and experiences too, maybe check out local attractions, are they autism-friendly, e.g. do any local restaurants have a quieter area -what’s the lighting/decor like, etc. Families will appreciate your efforts.
Don’t forget to market your property well -you will be offering something more than other rentals and it’s important you get yourself out there! Word of mouth is all very well an good but marketing is key. If you need some ideas we have a good guide. I won’t post a link as I will get a telling off but if you would like to check it out let me know!
Good luck with your project!
Please post the link for the guide. Unless it is blatant advertising (and even then) I think the mods will allow it. As you are new you might have to ask them to post it.
AirGMS is not new his/her business has been a member here since 2016 @JamJerrupSunset
To be honest most of the information provides by AirGMS on marketing is advice and tips that hosts here over the years have suggested themselves, but useful for someone who is new to Airbnb to have in one place.
We’ve been cutting down on all the self promoting people do here. So in most cases we aren’t allowing it, especially not new members.
Most of it appears to be a summary of the posts right above his in the same thread. But hey, he’s cheerful and it doesn’t blatantly violate forum TOS so it’s allowed.
@Helsi, do you know what Cliff Notes are? It’s like Cliff Notes of Airhosts Forum.
No I don’t I’m afraid @KKC
Oh, I have tears in my eyes, this is so helpful! You know what, I haven’t hardly had to market the place at all, it really has just been nicely booked without much marketing. If I did market it I’m sure it would be booked all the time. I just have to get my act together to do it. However, if I make it accessible and sensory friendly, I’m thinking I probably won’t even need to do much marketing then because of word of mouth. I will post photos, in my listing, of all of the upgrades (i.e. ramps, chairlift, Sensory Swing and other things as I can do them.) It’s all I can do to keep the place ready as it is, I hope I can keep up! I have had to quit my other “job” of teaching English online to Chinese students. I just can’t seem to get to it! I will let you know what happens when I make some progress.
I hope words spreads quickly for you! It sounds like you’ve got a special spot there!
Depending on where you are based, there are so many issues with regulations that I would not even think of starting a place like that.
I know several of these places, the hosts are all trained and licensed professionals, they had to invest tons of money to create their rentals and get them licensed, and can only survive on external funding from several organizations.
I appreciate your intentions, but it is really more difficult than you think to start a place like that.