The mission of Ireland’s Mobility Mojo can be summed up in just four words – hotel accessibility made simple. But behind this lies a much larger vision, one that aspires to open the world to everyone.
Founded in 2016 by Stephen Cluskey and Noelle Daly, Mobility Mojo aims to give the 500 million people worldwide who don’t travel because of accessibility concerns the confidence to do so. Wheelchair users themselves, Cluskey and Daly experienced huge difficulties when travelling, particularly in getting information online about access.
“Our aim is to mainstream accessibility and make travel welcoming and inclusive to everyone,” says Daly, now Mobility Mojo’s chief operating officer.
“Accessibility affects us all at some point,” she says. “Imagine an elderly person with a bad hip or knee who needs to know if there is a walk-in shower in the bathroom, a wheelchair user looking to find out if the elevator doors are wide enough or a parent with a stroller who wants to know how many steps there are at the hotel entrance.”
Mobility Mojo spots gap in the market
With backing from Enterprise Ireland, the trade and innovation agency, Mobility Mojo set out to address this gap in the fast-growing but under-served market for accessible tourism.
Its innovative technology solution allows hotels to audit, integrate and display their accessible features in a standardised way online so guests with access needs can make informed choices before booking.
“We believe that by working closely with hotels, we can help them deliver an amazing guest experience, one that allows hotels to thrive and offers value to their guests,” Daly says.
Mobility Mojo’s product is so easy to use that hotels can go live with it in half a business day.
The results are also fast. “One hotel got back to us after integrating Mobility Mojo on their website to say they had seen 10 reservations for the accessible room in the first two weeks and they wanted to roll it out to the rest of the hotel group,” Daly says.
She wants hotels to change their mindset to see accessibility not just as a compliance issue but as an opportunity, “an asset they should proudly promote in the same way they promote a gym or swimming pool”.
Road to success
The company now numbers leading hotels in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the US among its clients. Daly notes that to date every hotel that has integrated Mobility Mojo has gone on to roll it out to all the other hotels in the group.
Dalata, Ireland’s largest hotel chain which operates the Clayton and Maldron hotels, is among its customers. According to Mobility Mojo, 1.5% of people who landed on Dalata’s websites used the widget, spent an additional two minutes on the site and produced bookings whose total value was about 25% above average.
Dalata also found that revenue was boosted by the travelling companions of those with accessible needs. Daly points out that people with access needs often travel with family, friends or wider groups and this accessibility information can be the deciding factor for where the group goes or where a wedding or conference for more than 1,000 people takes place.
Another major client, Virgin Hotels, used Mobility Mojo to be more proactive in complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This has become an increasingly important issue for US hotels following a number of recent lawsuits over ADA non-compliance.
“Even if a hotel’s level of accessibility isn’t great, it’s important to tell their customers what they have and let the customer decide if it suits their needs,” Daly says.
Planning for future growth
By 2025, Mobility Mojo estimates that travellers with accessible needs, reduced mobility and age-related impairments will account for one-in-four guests. Daly notes that there are more than 100 million people over 65 in Europe while in the US, baby boomers are turning 65 at a rate of 10,000 a day.
“Our plan is to roll this out with the largest hotel groups in the world, to help them capture this incredible opportunity of a vastly underserved market,” she says.
Vibrant Irish travel technology sector
Part of a wave of Irish companies using leading-edge technology to create new travel experiences, Mobility Mojo’s ground-breaking efforts have not gone unrecognised.
It has won several awards including one at the The Zero Project Awards at the United Nations for providing a practical solution to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. It recently received the award for Best in Universal Design at The Spiders and has also won the Irish Responsible Tourism Award and the KBC Bright Ideas Award. Richard Branson even wrote an article detailing how fantastic a solution Mobility Mojo has been for the Virgin group.
Enterprise Ireland has played a vital role in the company’s development, providing funding and advice as well as opening doors. “As new entrepreneurs with a big dream, we relied heavily on their guidance and expertise,” Daly says. “They gave us wonderful mentors, funding and access to networks.
“When you’re starting a business, everything is scary in the beginning but having a large organisation supporting us along the journey has made all the difference.”