Midweek Interview

Midweek catch-up with Sabre’s Darren Rickey

We caught up with SVP airline global sales and accounts at Sabre Darren Rickey who is currently living it up in Barcelona and Southern France and honestly, we’re a little offended we weren’t invited.

What’s your main goal for this year?

To get back out ‘on the road’ and meet with our airline customers. I’m very eager to understand what our airlines are focusing on as the recovery takes shape!

What’s your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?

I think travel gives us perspective, tolerance and empathy. Travel helps bring the world together, and helps us all realise that our cultural similarities far outweigh our differences.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I love playing golf (with a current handicap of 11). My wife is a travel agent, so we love travelling to different destinations domestically and internationally for vacation.

Have you managed to do any travelling since restrictions began to ease (domestic or international?)

Yes! So far in 2022 I’ve travelled to the Middle East, South Africa and Australia/New Zealand for business, and as part of the latter trip got a chance to spend time with my family in Melbourne (who I hadn’t seen since pre-pandemic).

What’s your favourite travel company besides the one you work for?

I can’t single out any particular airline, as they are all my customers. My wife and I are Marriott Bonvoy members and we tend to visit many of their properties in Hawaii and around the world and enjoy their service.

If you could invite three famous guests to a dinner party, who would you choose?

Tough question! Let’s go with Paul McCartney, Barack Obama and Ash Barty.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

I think the pandemic has reinforced the merit of ‘we’ versus ‘me’ – whether you think about the travel industry, or humanity in general – to defeat COVID 19. The development of the vaccines occurred in record time, and the pandemic has forced us all to adjust our personal and professional lives to think about each other. That’s a good thing.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the global pandemic?

Never waste a good crisis! The past 2 years have been tough, but smart travel companies are using the ‘shock’ to the industry to look at their business and technology and are thinking about how they can evolve and innovate in terms of their interactions with their customers. Modernization and innovation in the travel industry has been accelerated by the pandemic.

What book and/or TV show can you not get enough of lately?

I’m reading ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari at the moment. A really good read on how and why the world is the way it is. I just watched the documentary ‘Shane’ about Shane Warne, which was made in 2021 (prior to his death). A fantastic recap by him and others on his cricketing career and life in general.

Do you have any travel goals for 2022?

Looking forward to traveling to Barcelona and Southern France in late June/early July, which are two places I have never been before. And we have a long weekend with friends booked in Kentucky in October, on a bourbon tasting trip that includes visits to several distilleries. Should be a fun trip!



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