Keeping clients in the know

ancy Dunn, president of Aladdin Travel & Meeting Planners in Winston-Salem, N.C., is underscoring her commitment to clients by conducting airport security seminars at various sites, with airport and airline representatives as guest speakers.

Using ticket-stuffers, broadcast e-mails and phone calls, the agency drew 50 clients to its Greensboro, N.C., seminar and another 30 to its seminar in Winston-Salem, Dunn said.

Gary Spellman of US Airways' district sales office, Charlotte, N.C., and Nancy Dunn, owner of Aladdin Travel, Winston-Salem, N.C., field questions during the agency's security seminar held in Greensboro, N.C. Speakers were Ted Johnson, chief executive officer of the Piedmont Triad Airport; Gary Spellman, from US Airways' Charlotte, N.C., office; Bob Jerome and Katherine Birdsong, both with Continental Airlines' Greensboro sales office, and Debbie Arrett from Avis' sales staff in Charlotte. Aladdin also has three in-plant locations, and Dunn said it is likely she will hold seminars for her corporate clients, as well.

Dunn's clients' questions reflected those on the minds of most travelers in the first weeks after Sept. 11: What can be expected with the new airport rules? How far in advance are flight schedule changes going to be known? Will fares be going down for business travelers?

Dunn's commitment to clients was put to the test the week of the attacks. Like many agencies, Aladdin Travel had clients stranded worldwide, including about two dozen on the West Coast. The stranded West Coast visitors decided not to wait for a flight and called the agency to book one-way transcontinental car rentals, Dunn said.

Sue Kisselbach of Aladdin's vacations department was among those assisting clients after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. When there were no more rental cars available on the West Coast, Aladdin agents arranged cross-country car pools, she added. The staff not only assisted affected clients but kept their families at home updated, Dunn said. "We had agents who were the primary contact between travelers and their families," Dunn said.

"We also provided corporate clients with reports indicating which of their employees were stranded where."

Aladdin, which is affiliated with Giants and Hickory Travel Systems, has a client mix of 70% corporate and 30% leisure, including nonprofit groups, Dunn said.

-- Henry Magenheim

Nonprofit niche worth courting

laddin Travel & Meeting Planners' group department handles travel for about 60 nonprofit organizations, according to agency president Nancy Dunn. The nonprofit group business is an important segment of her agency's overall business, but at times, "nonprofit" translates into not-for-profit business for the agency.

"If it is a nonprofit, and we're dealing with each member intensively, the profit margin can be nonexistent, and you simply hope you've won new clients," Dunn said.

The nonprofit business is not solicited, Dunn noted, and advertising stems mainly from word of mouth. But if a representative from a new group inquires about a trip, the staff gives it serious follow-up, she said.

Aladdin supplies direct-mail pieces for use by nonprofits in signing up participants. Such groups include schools and colleges and those organized by individuals. Nonprofits also include university boards of trustees, arts and symphony organizations.

The agency sends a staff member on about half the group trips -- especially those going overseas and those with "high-end" budgets, Dunn added. In most cases, Aladdin is able to enlist the assistance of selected ground operators for the nonprofit group's travel, she said.

Horizontes in San Jose, Costa Rica; Scandi Tours in Prague, Czech Republic, and Gastaldi in Rome are among the firms with which Aladdin works. Aladdin also has a meeting-planning team handling professional and business organizations and incentives.

E-mail newsletters are sent weekly to the entire client list. The company can be found on the Web at www.aladdintravel.com.

Personnel Pointers

Resumes, Part 2

his is the second of a two-part package of pointers on writing a resume. This segment takes you through the resume itself, item by item.

• Resumes start with the present and work backward through employment history. Employers want to know whom you have worked for, the city and state and the dates you were employed. After listing those basics, list your job title (this is a good place to use boldface type), followed by a discussion of what you did in that position.

Nancy Rush.• When explaining what you do or did at a job, try writing it out first as if you were explaining it to a friend you hadn't seen in awhile. You want it to sound really good, and you want the person to understand what you do (or did). Then you can edit as necessary.

Be sure to include things like, "exceeded sales goals by X%," or "was instrumental in," or "was promoted," and words like "developed ...," or "enhanced ..." or "increased ..." whenever possible. Talk about things like customer satisfaction and the ability to think on your feet.

In some cases, it works well to list responsibilities as bulleted items; for others, the paragraph style is more useful.

Remember, include all information on one page, no more than two. Don't repeat the exact words to describe different jobs. No two jobs are exactly the same, and you can be more creative than that.

• Improper use of verb tenses is a common problem on resumes. Use the present tense for the job that you still have and use the past tense for all the other jobs.

The general rule of thumb is to show employment going back 10 years; if you have more room, go a bit further.

• Next is your heading for Skills. This section is very important. Besides listing your technical skills, such as Sabre, Apollo, Microsoft Word, Excel, e-mail and Internet, list your personal skills, such as team player, outstanding communicator, one who works well under pressure. This also is the place to list any other languages you speak.

• Your final heading is Education. If you are over the age of 25, don't list your high school. Employers want to see if you have a degree and what it's for. It's OK to list a college even if you have taken only a few classes. Put something like "general education," unless you took courses in a specific program.

List courses or seminars that relate to the position you are seeking. Also list computer training, if it's beyond the norm. Provide the name of the college or school or course, then the city and state and dates (dates can be optional).

Now save your new resume on a disk or two, and in your computer.

Nancy Rush is the director of the western region for Travel Solutions Group, a travel industry recruitment and placement firm. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].

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