Tech Startup Uses AI to Improve Personalization and Accuracy in Accessible Travel

02/23/2017 11:35 am ET

Driven by the aging population of the planet, more 1.3 Billion people are traveling with some form of physical mobility challenge or disability. As of 2017, Boomers (age 50 and over) control the global economy. As Tnooz notes, accessible tourism is the fastest growing travel sector. The fastest growing age demographic is centenarians; the still small, but fastest growing travel demographic are nonagenarians (people aged 90 and over.) My own parents law fly between New Jersey and Seattle to visit with the grandchildren for the second time in as many months…. at the age of 90 and 91.

Someone shared a video online recently showing a 105-year old woman who was winning the 100-meter dash. She wasn’t running at breakneck speeds, but she wasn’t walking either. And while she was competing with some juniors in their nineties, she was not the only centenarian running. We humans aren’t aging as we used to.

This valuable and loyal travel market ranges from the few super-beings who run races at 105, to quadriplegics using motorized chairs to older travelers managing declining stamina with motor scooters to travelers with sight or hearing limitations, limited use of aging joints (knees and hips) and everything in between. More than half of the people over the age of 65 have some form of physical mobility challenge today and tech companies are beginning to address the substantial market and its highly-personalized needs.

In addition to mobility challenges, travel planners today are managing ever more significant accommodation needs on the road, including dialysis, life threatening food, animal, or environmental allergies, and developmental challenges such as autism.

brettapproved, Inc., the largest and fastest growing platform connecting travelers with varied disabilities and the vendors that serve them. At the foundation of the website is curated vendor-provided and user generated content (UCG) containing photo-rich reviews and standardized accessibility information. Leveraging that data, the company's proprietary algorithm provides the world's first standardized rating system for the accessibility of any location or venue on the planet.

“Our goal is to map the accessibility of all of Planet Earth from various accessibility vantage points,” says Brett Heising, founder and CEO of brettapproved. “Accessibility is different depending on your visual and audio acuity, physical condition, stamina, and limitations.”

Cofounder and COO, Gillian Muessig adds, “The self-learning algorithm is used to match accommodations with travelers today. Increasing in personalization and accuracy over time, the recommendation engine will provide a level of personalization including preferences and capabilities/disabilities that is as yet unseen online or offline in the travel and tourism industry.”

The information can be leveraged by hotels and entertainment venues to optimize the value of this very fast growing, highly loyal, and financially valuable market.

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