Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with Riviera Travel’s Shelley Davey

Travel Weekly goes one-on-one with Riviera Travel’s Shelley Davey in a dance-off. Just kidding, we only interviewed her.

The challenge for the industry is

Keeping clients booking through travel agents. With more and more apps and websites popping up allowing clients to put their own packages together, it’s important that over the next 10 or so years clients continue to see the value in booking with their agent rather than by themselves.

It’s important that suppliers continue to support agents as much as possible. In Australia, clients can ONLY book a Riviera river cruise through their agent. We don’t take direct Australian bookings.

The things I like about my job

Being out on the road meeting agents and clients. Sales can be a bit of a lonely position from day to day so getting to meet agents and clients face to face is wonderful.

And the frustrations are…

Keeping everyone happy. It’s hard to please everyone!

If I didn’t work in travel I would be

A photographer. Photography is my hobby and I even worked at a newspaper for a year after leaving school and before going to university in the photography department.

I used to clean the equipment and process the film (showing my age!). I even when out on assignment with the staff photographers and had my pictures published in the local daily!

Favourite airline

Emirates. I fly Emirates from the UK to Australia several times a year. I love their 30kg luggage allowance and their entertainment is great.

My proudest moment was

Finishing my Master’s degree. I think it’s like minor surgery… if you’d known how painful it was going to be beforehand, you wouldn’t have opted for it in the first place!

The naughtiest thing I ever did was

Gosh, I daren’t say this… I stole a pebble from a plant pot in Buckingham Palace about 20 years ago! I was petrified the whole time I had it in my pocket and when I got outside I was so scared I threw it away!  So all that fear and no pebble! I hope the Queen isn’t reading this…

I try to relax by

Meditating, reading, drinking tea/wine, watching box sets.

The last time I feared for my life was

Two years ago on a flight from the UK to Madrid. The plane was having trouble landing and pulled up and circled the airport three times before it finally got down on the ground!

If I can, I always try to avoid

Aeroplane food. Another thing I love about Emirates is you can choose your food when you check in online and I always opt for the fruit meal.

You get a fabulous fruit salad instead of standard plane food. It also means you get served first! I’m a bit of an Emirates advertisement today, aren’t I?  I hope they see this and I get a cheeky upgrade.

I really wish I had

A puppy. I really, really want one but I travel far too much at the moment. I’m desperate for a chorkie – a chihuahua cross Yorkshire terrier. They’re adorable.

The best advice I’ve ever received was

Always try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Even if you disagree, at least try to see where they’re coming from.

I don’t understand why people

Return to the same holiday place over and over. I know a few people who return to the same hotel in the same resort every year.  There’s so much more of the world to see!

My greatest weakness is

Switching off. Above I was asked what I do to relax…. It’s worth noting that during watching TV boxsets and drinking wine I’m also constantly checking and responding to emails.

Being based in the UK but working with and in Australia, throughout the year I have to deal with different time zones. I get a lot of work done between 5am and 10am when I’m in the UK because that’s when the Aussies are still at work. But then I have to work in the UK office until 5.30pm! It makes for long days when I’m in the UK office.

And my greatest strength is

Hmm, it’s always hard to big yourself up. I think I’m good at making people feel comfortable as soon as I meet them. I can usually find some common ground really quickly and use that to keep the conversation flowing.

Who doesn’t love a good natter?!

If I won a $1 million lottery (aside from travelling), I would

Be a perpetual causal student. I LOVE learning new things and, if I could afford it, I’d do as many courses as I could.

Photography, tourism, creative writing, pottery, the list would be endless.

If I was prime minister I would

In Australia – legalise gay marriage… In the UK – sort out the public school system! The vast majority of our politicians – the people in charge of our state education system – send their children to private schools!

If I could be someone else for one day I would be

Richard Branson. I wouldn’t mind spending a day on his private island with all his celeb friends.

I’ve always wanted to travel to

Italy! I’ve never been (hangs head in shame) but I will be visiting Italy with my Aussie friend next June. I can’t wait! All that pizza!

My favourite holiday was

Does a three-month backpacking trip count? My friends and I travelled in a truck from Kathmandu all through India and camped our way around.

Proper hippy-style… guitars, campfires, the works. It was magical. Everyone has to experience India at least once in their life.


Would you like to take part in our Midweek Interview? Get in touch with Travel Weekly Editor Daisy Doctor here to get the ball rolling.


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