Company: Special Needs Group, Dania Beach, FL
Company Description: Special Needs Group, Inc. is the leading global provider of wheelchair rentals, scooter rentals, oxygen rentals and other special needs equipment rentals. It also offers a broad range of special needs equipment for purchase. Recommended by the world's major cruise lines for superior service and value, Special Needs Group also services guests visiting hotels, resorts, theme parks and conventions.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year - Up to 100 Employees
Nomination Title: Special Needs Group
Tell the story about what this nominated organization achieved since January 1 2011 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:
Special Needs Group, Inc.’s mission is to deliver an accessible world, and in 2011, it launched the travel industry’s first online course to give travel professionals the power to join that mission.
While most travel professionals previously did not have, or know how to acquire, information about how to service travelers with special needs, Special Needs Group created its online Accessible Travel Advocate course to provide them with critical knowledge, skills, and resources to help clients with special needs realize their travel dreams.
Since Special Needs Group launched the course in November 2011, over 425 travel professionals have achieved the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate™ designation. This not only gives travel professionals a distinct advantage to tap into the accessible travel market – the fastest-growing segment in travel – but it also helps them to deliver an accessible world.
The powerful online course is an eLearning curriculum that allows travel professionals to become conversant with the accessible travel market segment through online study and testing. The one-hour, three-module program objectives focus on understanding accessible travel, building expertise in accessible travel and demonstrating accessible travel advocacy skills. These are essential subject matter areas for travel professionals if they wish to service the accessible travel market. Upon completing the course, travel professionals receive the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate™ certification, which qualifies for five CLIA Certification Credits.
Highlights of the course are:
• It is designed to provide industry professionals with a basic understanding of the size, scope and basic requirements of the accessible travel market, along with the most frequently used services, aids and products used by the consumers in this market.
• It gives direction to travel professionals regarding interpersonal and soft skills when dealing with the accessible travel market, aspects that many professionals find daunting when serving travelers with special needs.
• It offers important information about the buying power of the accessible travel market, as well as the rights and privileges of that market.
As the Baby Boomer generation retires over the next 20 years, and the number of individuals with special needs continues to increase, the accessible travel segment is the fastest-growing segment in travel. Over 40 percent of Baby Boomers will be retiring with some form of disability, raising the total value of the accessible travel segment to over 25 percent of the travel market by 2020.
Twenty percent (63 million) of Americans have a disability, and approximately 10 million aged 15 and older use a walking aid such as a cane or walker. This group includes many “slow walker” individuals who don’t consider themselves disabled, but could benefit from special needs products and services.
These people need – and want – to travel. Studies show that 24 million disabled Americans would travel or travel more frequently if their special needs were met.
By introducing its industry-first Accessible Travel Advocate course, Special Needs Group has reached out to travel professionals across the globe to help the growing number of individuals with special needs fulfill their travel dreams.
Upload a collection of supporting files and web addresses to our server to provide more background information to the judges. You may upload any number of attachments and URLs through the "Add Attachments, Videos, or Links to This Entry" link above. (Do NOT list your URLs below.)
Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader of this nominated organization:
Andrew J. Garnett, founder, president and CEO of Special Needs Group, has played an integral role in breaking travel barriers for individuals with special needs. With over 10 years of experience in the special needs industry, Andrew is an advocate, educator, consultant and service provider.
Since founding Special Needs Group in 2007, Andrew has led the company to become the category leader, and enhanced awareness among the travel industry and consumers about the importance of accessible travel. His goal is to make travel possible for everyone, regardless of special needs. He holds an economics degree from the University of Florida.