We all know that feeling – you pay money for a product or service and when you eventually use it, it’s not at all the experience you were promised.
This was the driving factor that Daman, founder of AbiliTrek, says pushed him to create his own company to solve the problems that other disabled travelers faced. Daman is in a wheelchair and also an avid traveler. When he books a hotel room he has to confirm that there was a roll-in shower, easy to open doors and other necessary amenities to make his stay possible.
On one of his trips, Daman was disappointed to find that the room he booked did not have the roll-in shower or other requirements he requested. All after he was assured that the specific room did in fact have them. He continued on to three different hotels before he found one that could accommodate him.
Daman knew that he wasn’t the only traveler struggling with this problem, and was inspired to solve it.
The idea for what became AbiliTrek.com was awarded first place in the Bellingham Startup Challenge in 2015. The team continued with that momentum to build towards their vision. Today, Daman and his team at AbiliTrek have partnered with a major hotel supplier to make sure that disabled travelers have the proper amenities in the rooms that they book.
Typically a hotel search only has a handful of filters to find the perfect room for any given traveler. AbiliTrek’s website features an astounding 27 different filters which are applied to a user’s profile. The power behind AbiliTrek.com is that each user can make this personalized profile where they can select their accessibility needs. AbiliTrek uses this information to automatically refine the user’s hotel search where the data exists. In turn, Abilitrek relies on users providing data beyond what is currently available for a hotel booking website.
One of the most difficult problems AbiliTrek had to overcome when initially starting up was gaining access to the hotel supplier’s API (Application Program Interface). An API is the code base from one company, that allows another company like AbiliTrek to access their database of hotels and other information. Normally API integrations are as easy as using code supplied by the API provider, in order to use the API you do have to sign up for their program which was taking months.
Daman attended a large networking event and told everyone he met his needs for access to the API. One conversation lead to another and long story short – he made contact with the former CEO who helped Daman quickly get approved to use the API.
With AbiliTrek’s website complete, now they need bookings to support their mission of providing a standardized way that disabled travelers can access suitable hotel rooms.
And the best part about it? You don’t have to be a disabled traveler to book through them.
By using their website to book hotel rooms in cities all across the US, you support them while they continue their outreach to gain valuable reviews from disabled travelers. Local support is important to start bringing people to use the website.
“We need people to support the idea to make it a tangible reality.” – Daman
Check out their website here: www.abilitrek.com
Bellingham has a strong local economy. If you want to show your support for this local Bellingham startup then do consider booking hotel rooms through their website.
AbiliTrek’s ambitions don’t stop at providing a service to disabled travelers. In the future, they would like to offer hotels consulting on making access upgrades, licensing their data and further empowering the disabled community worldwide.