Our Mission & History

Making goods and services accessible to people with disabilities in travel, tourism, and transportation.

Our Mission

Open Doors Organization (ODO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Chicago, Illinois, was founded in 2000 with the mission to make goods and services accessible to people with disabilities in travel, tourism and transportation. Our goal is to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community.

Through comprehensive research, training, and guidance in marketing strategies, customer service, and ACAA and ADA compliance, ODO gives large corporations and small business alike the tools they need to reach and serve the disability market. ODO also creates its own programs and services to improve the quality of life for the individuals with disabilities.

Our History

Over the past 20+ years, Open Doors Organization has proven itself to be the little non-profit that could, making a significant impact within the transportation and hospitality industries, not just in the U.S. but worldwide. Within two years of its founding, ODO published the first-ever nationwide market study of adult travelers with disabilities, using The Harris Poll to conduct surveys in 2002, 2005, 2015 and 2020. The groundbreaking 2002 research brought ODO to national attention as major publications such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Los Angeles Times announced the startling finding that American travelers with disabilities spend $13.6 billion annually on travel. By 2020 that figure had jumped to $29.4 billion.

ODO market research focused not just on the trips being made and money being spent, but also how much potential is as yet unrealized due to the barriers still remaining in transportation and hospitality. As the new authority on the disability travel market, Open Doors Organization partnered with the Travel Industry Association of America (now Travel and Tourism Research Association) and the National Restaurant Association. It also began to provide marketing assistance, qualitative research and customer service training to numerous corporations including restaurant and hotel chains and major air carriers.

As you will see from the numerous and varied projects and achievements described elsewhere in this website, Open Doors Organization has continued to expand its partnerships and clientele, always with an eye to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. ODO is always ready for a new challenge, whether it’s creating a series of award-winning Easy Access Guides, shooting a customer service training video for British Airways or conducting training for more than 10,000 Amtrak employees in 25 cities nationwide.