Kimberly Rudd was embarking on a career as a social worker when the travel advisor who had booked her Hawaii vacation offered to teach her the tricks of the trade.
“I was hooked the minute I stepped into the office to begin my training,” says Rudd, who, today, is the manager and group logistics coordinator for Corniche Travel.
That was 29 years ago; Rudd now pulls in $2.5 million in revenue a year selling corporate and leisure travel.
“I am partial to working with and managing international groups. The frenzy of all the details, from the initial planning stages, fare negotiations, housing issues, transfers and security to the ultimate conclusion of the trip, it is all very fulfilling,” she says. “I love working with students and their families, especially those who are just getting interested in seeing the world.”
The fine details are important to Rudd. She says she loves creating an unforgettable experience for the client and imagines how she would want to be treated if she were on their trip.
To stand out, she creates handmade and individualized crafted thank you cards for her clients and follows up with welcome-home calls.
“I double-check all the details before they leave, calling the hotels, car companies and the tour companies to make sure that everything is in place,” she says. “I look for ways to make them feel that they are special and not just the next booking.”
She loves working for Corniche Travel, which is based in West Hollywood, CA and moved from Michigan to Southern California to work for Corniche’s owner, Anastasia Mann, 13 years ago.
“Anastasia is inspiring and encourages you to be the best you can be,” says Rudd. “Plus, she introduced me to the amazing continent of Africa.
“I love working for Corniche, as we are empowered to do what it takes to make our clients’ trips amazing. Being a travel advisor is not just a job, it’s a passion that we are encouraged to fully embrace and pursue.”
Mann, in turn, has tremendous respect for Rudd. “Kim has an enormous gift of loyalty and pride in everything she touches. She treats every transaction, every phone call, every question, every client as though they are the most important. Her sincerity and dedication are so inherent in her persona that I have no need to worry, or micro-manage anything she does. If something is in Kim’s hands, it is going to be executed perfectly and professionally,” says Mann.
Rudd continues to travel to grow her knowledge base.
“Most recently, I spent two weeks in Kauai,” she says. “The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas are amazing. The villas are exceptionally appointed, luxurious without being pretentious and both family-and couple-friendly. The location was excellent and the sunset views — amazing.” Other positive experiences included a Na Pali Coast tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters and zip-lining with Koloa Zip Line.
When she’s not selling travel, Rudd works on creating mixed media art and stained glass. Getting out in to nature is a priority, which means she and her family spend as much time hiking and camping as possible.