With its "Jump-Start" online Accessible Travel Advocate webinar, an industry first, Special Needs Group, Inc (SNG) is providing travel professionals with critical knowledge, skills, and resources to help clients with special needs realize their travel dreams.
Special Needs Group, Inc. is presenting two webinars (nine learning opportunities) during August, its "Summer School" month. Since the certification program was launched in November, 721 travel professionals have achieved the SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate designation.
Most travel professionals previously did not have, or know how to acquire, information about how to service travelers with special needs.
Through the course and its webinars, Special Needs Group is providing an essential benefit to consumers with special needs, as they can now work with SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocates who can better serve clients with their added knowledge, skills, resources and interpersonal/soft skills; bring incremental and unique value to clients and provide additional travel knowledge to clients who may not know that travel is possible for them.
The SNG Certified Accessible Travel Advocate (CATA) program. “Jump-Start" is available at 3 p.m. on Aug. 1, 7, 8, 15, 22 and 28. Among topics of discussion will be understanding accessible travel and what it encompasses; building expertise by knowing the equipment that can be offered and demonstrating accessible travel advocacy skills. Participants can earn five CLIA credits upon successful completion of the program.
The second program, “How to electronically deliver an accessible world with Special Needs Group,” will take place at 3 p.m. on Aug. 14, 21 and 29. Travel professionals will learn how to register for the SNG Travel Agent Affiliate/Commission Program; effectively service the special needs/accessible travel market and maximize their time and efficiency with online ordering.
A $15 Billion Industry
So why you should you sell accessible travel? Because you want to earn a seat in heaven? Well, that’s not a bad goal, but selling travel to clients with disabilities doesn’t require a heart of gold. Instead it requires good business sense and a lot of patience.
“It’s not always something an agent gets into out of the goodness of their heart when you consider that this is an industry that produces $15 billion a year,” Jani Nayar, executive coordinator for the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH), told Travel Agent as part of a cover story we did on accessible travel in 2011.
In that same article, we mentioned that the National Organization on Disability estimates that there are 54 million men, women and children in the U.S. with a disability, and as the baby boomer generation ages, there will be even more travelers who have special needs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42 percent of women over the age of 65, and 38 percent of men in the same age group have disabilities.