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Handibooking, making trips suitable for people with disabilities

The e-tourism start-up of the week


Here is the second "Start up of the week" section of the newly launched section by TourMaG.com and i-tourism. Every Friday we present an innovative tourism business, offering a new concept and/or a new approach to a tourism topic and/or leisure. We continue this series of portraits with Handibooking, the new platform for information and reservations with offers tailored to people with disabilities. A French innovation.



The initial concept?

Handibooking.com is the first platform for information and reservations with tailored offers for people with disabilities.
Handibooking.com is the first platform for information and reservations with tailored offers for people with disabilities.
b[Handibooking offers a tool for online booking of holiday accommodation suitable for people with disabilities.]b

An online accomodation booking system was launched on Thursday, June 12.

It allows to book from nearly 2,300 adapted stays in hotels, campsites and B&Bs in France.

It also provides 180 offers in Belgium.

All benefit from the French “Tourism and Handicap” label or its Belgian equivalent.

The site was designed to be a forum for discussion, documentation and holiday accommodation booking for this type of clientele.

What does this add to the tourism sector?

The guarantee of easily finding institutions approved by national labels.

The site currently offers a directory of appropriate activities.

Cafes, restaurants, convention centers, sports are classified according to different disabilities types (motor, visual, auditory and mental) through the database of Tourism and Handicap label.

What is the targeted profile?

A population of people with disabilities and seniors with their care takers.

What is the potential market?

The market represents more than 650 million people with a disability on the planet.

32% of the European population is in a situation of disability and accessibility is at the heart of its expectations.

Rates vary depending on the supply of the hosts.

What is your business model?

The business model is based on a commission from the hosts (10%) and advertising space.

In addition, 3% of sales from reservations is donated to actors in the world of disability (associations etc.)

What is your differentiating factor?

Handibooking.com is the first online booking platform specializing in holiday accommodation suitable for individuals with disabilities.

Because no platform of the sort exists.

To date, only generalists websites such as Booking, Expedia etc. could be competitors.



Do you have a business incubator?

This is in progress. We are waiting on the hosting decision of CDA La Rochelle

Any news to announce?

The booking party was launched on Thursday, June 12, 2014. Customers can now start booking.

Where are you in the launching of your start-up?

The site has been online since April and the launching party took place last Thursday.

We begin by integrating hosts, but the idea is to make it possible for customers to book everything from start to finish such as the adapted flight or train seat, the taxi on arrival, accommodation, or a nurse for care.

Are you currently looking for funding?

We started on a clean slate and a fundraiser is part of our planning.

To begin, we are currently looking for partners.

And who’s on the team?

Christian Gatta
Christian Gatta
The team is led by Christian Gatta who has more than 30 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry.

- Chairman of an endowment fund on a tourism carbon offsetting, the Endowment Fund BlueStar.

- President of the Association AIR17, that assists respiratory insufficient in Charente Maritime.

- National Treasurer of the Association “Tourisme & Handicap giving him the right knowledge concerning the needs of the world of the disabled.

This is why he created a French joint OTA that is also an employment generator in the world of disability as a motivating project for his humanitarian qualities.

Handibooking, making trips suitable for people with disabilities
David Viard brings all our information together, he puts structure, order and matches the content with images. As a creative director, he worked for 25 years in communications sector and 16 years in new information technologies, whether with large companies, local authorities and SMEs.

He is also in charge for the HandiBooking communication. Christian and David worked together for over 10 years.

Handibooking, making trips suitable for people with disabilities
The geek, Thierry Dubois, is our independent developer with over 15 years experience in web technologies for communication agencies and computer services, he constantly monitors the tools and solutions of tomorrow, his attention to detail and novelties defines his daily practice.

Passionate about interactivity and designing modern applications, he is involved in many innovative projects.

Handibooking, making trips suitable for people with disabilities
Finally, Thierry Deschamps, Professor of the upper Chair in Engineering and R&D consultant for over 10 years is our energy source who awakened in us the desire to finish developing this project.

His experience in the organization and monitoring of innovative structures while exploiting new technologies was the necessary unifying factor to build this adventure.

More info

What made you want to undertake this project?

Christian Gatta: It's the story of two women. I'm not handicapped, but I live with a wonderful woman who is partially sighted of more than 85%.

So of course I know her daily life, and I know how the most simple actions can become obstacles.

Another woman crossed my path, and she led me to create Handibooking: Annette Masson, then President of Skål France and the Association “Tourisme et Handicap”, invited me a few years ago to join ATH, and then I became the treasurer.

Time passed, and my knowledge on these issues has progressed. I understand for example the extraordinary work of labels, and I also found that the road was far from finished.

Finally, in November 2013, the state has implemented the Open Data system (called the free license), which was the trigger to start this project of social solidarity.

What qualities should an entrepreneur have?

CG: Keeping a balance between the vision and daily requirements.

What’s your ambition?

CG: Being the specialist and reference website in France and abroad for the organization adapted stays.

Written by Mathilde Khlat translated by Joséphine Foucher the 16/06/2014
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