Laurel Van Horn

Director of Programs, Open Doors Organization

Laurel Van Horn has specialized in accessible travel and hospitality since 1987, working as a writer, educator and consultant. Since 2004 she has been the Director of Programs for Open Doors Organization (ODO), the Chicago-based non-profit best known for its nationwide studies of the disability travel market. In addition to developing ODO customer service training for airlines, cruise lines, hotels and ground transportation companies, Laurel edits their Easy Access guides, newsletter and website.

Formerly the executive director of SATH (Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality), Laurel also was editor of their magazine, Open World for Disability and Mature Travel. She has since written for numerous disability magazines, websites and scholarly journals, reporting on developments in inclusive travel worldwide. Laurel has conducted access projects and awareness training in many countries including Thailand, India, Egypt, Dubai, South Africa, Peru, Chile and Panama. She has also served on a variety of transportation-related advisory boards—Greyhound Lines, Northwest Airlines, Amtrak, Project Action and the US Access Board’s Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee.

A long-term resident of New York City, Laurel has an M.A. in Economics from the New School for Social Research and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in Sociology.