Fancy dress is a fishy business for Shubhra Halliday, business development manager for Prestige Holidays, but on the road she’s prepared to dress for any weather
Describe your typical week
It’s a mixture of commercial meetings with head offices, sales calls, agent events, training, agent evenings, event planning, the list goes on. I have my best ideas when driving, so I always have a notepad close at hand.
How big is Prestige’s on-the-road sales team?
We have a head of sales overseeing the seven business development managers on the road – I oversee London north and the Home Counties. And we have an agency sales manager and an assistant to look after all of our travel agents in the UK.
What’s in your car?
Mostly clothing for all weathers – trainers, boots, sandals, a winter coat, a raincoat, a suit jacket, a woolly hat and sunglasses.
And what’s on the radio?
I listen to Radio 1 for new music, XFM for old music. Fridays are all about dance and Ibiza music, so I use my iPod to set me up for the weekend.
What snack keeps you going?
I make a salad in a special container. My snack of choice is nuts.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve done as part of a sales visit?
I dressed as a fish finger this year for Abta Lifeline’s nautical theme to collect money from my travel agents.
Who would be your ideal driving companion?
Richard Branson, Jeremy Paxman, Gandhi, Ellen DeGeneres and George Clooney. Could be a tight squeeze!
What’s your favourite alcoholic drink?
A Cosmopolitan reminds me of when I first moved to London when I lived with three other girls. We were living the Sex in the City life and we still try now. Plus it’s sweet, strong and sophisticated.
What’s the best question a travel agent has asked you?
How do you pronounce your name? My answer – shoe-bra.
Have you ever been lost?
Before the days of satnav in my first job I used an A-Z. I remember driving the wrong way down a one-way street in London without realising. I was lucky since no car was driving on it but then I drove down a no entry. I have never got it wrong since. I actually love driving.
Which is your favourite destination that your company sells?
There are too many to say. I could narrow it down to three: Canada, Sicily and Morocco. Canada because of the outdoor living, it’s so beautiful, green with natural scenery that can take your breath away; Sicily because of the food, wine and the architecture; and Morocco as it’s a melting pot of culture.
What key messages do you try to convey in an agent visit?
We have eight dedicated programmes and we are one of the best trade-friendly specialist tour operators, with an agent bookable website. We have now developed a specialist group tours portfolio as well. This year I am celebrating 10 years with Prestige Holidays. When I started we had 11 destinations and now we have 27.
What’s your advice for agents who don’t currently sell your product but are keen?
It’s worth contacting your local business development manager to give us a chance to explain how we can help develop your business. Embrace our website if you are unaware of our hotels and destinations. There is a section that allows you to find a property to suit your clients and our latest offers are all printable. We are competitive, have a huge range of destinations to choose from and have an amazing reservations team.
If you didn’t work in travel, what would you like to do instead?
I trained as a classical dancer and have an accountancy degree. But I have a secret ambition to be a DJ.
Get in touch: email Shubhra at firstname.lastname@example.org