This former travel agent knows what you want...

Harbour Island -- Judy Allen, a boisterous woman with no prior hotel experience, traded in her snow boots for flowing cotton dresses with bright prints when she left Michigan to take on the job of general manager for the Coral Sands Hotel.

She was ready for a change, and having spent many summers as a child on the neighboring island of Eleuthera, knew that this was exactly the kind of change she was after.

Allen does have experience in the travel industry, however. She owned and operated a small travel agency outside Detroit for seven years.

And it is her agency experience that she is relying on to continue to improve the facilities and guest relations at Coral Sands.

"Coming in with a background as a travel agent, I approached the job knowing what both agents and their clients are looking for in a hotel," she said.

For example, adding safes and hair dryers in the guest rooms happened at her insistence because these are items her clients always asked for. Also, "people don't like to be nickel and dimed to death," so all the beach toys are free of charge to guests.

There are no televisions in the rooms; however, TVs and VCRs can be signed out and brought to the room, also free of charge. It goes without saying that commissions are paid on time.

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