Despite the long trawl out of lockdown, 2021 is turning out to be one amazing year breakfast wise. I’ve got some equally amazing guests for you yet to come and today is another perfect example. Please welcome the Queen of Travel herself Sophie Griffiths.
Sophie Griffiths is the editor of the Travel Trade Gazette. This is a position she has held since January 2017 after working her way up from joining as a news reporter in 2010. She says it’s a job she absolutely loves ‘Not just because every day is different – pre-pandemic one day I might be on a cruise ship interviewing the boss of the line about their newest ship, the next, hosting a discussion on diversity and inclusion and the next back in the office writing up an interview or analysing the news.’ That sounds just fabulous Sophie; variety is the spice of life as they say.
Sophie says that the best part of her job is her team and also working for a company that she really believes in. She refers to her colleagues as ‘Really her friends’ and while their ‘Business ethos is to promote a smarter, better, fairer travel industry. It makes such a difference to work for a company with such important values and with such a strong leadership team who are dedicated to championing those values in everything they do.’ In 5 year’s time, Sophie hopes she will still be at TTG and says that ‘It’s the best job in the world’ and that she can’t think what else she would rather be doing.
Sophie’s first non-paid job was working at her local vets. She was 14 and spent every Saturday volunteering to help clear out the animals and observe surgeries, which she ‘Absolutely loved although sometimes it could be heart-breaking.’ I’d feel the same Sophie; shares in Kleenex for those sad moments although am sure there were tears of joy for the happier ones too.
A year later Sophie progressed to waitressing in a local hotel. She’s from Newquay so grew up surrounded by hotels and holidaymakers. Sophie says she ‘Wasn’t very good though so I didn’t last very long. I then went and worked at a local fudge shop which was a much better way to spend my summer hols – the best part was we got discounted fudge, so I used to spend most of my wages sampling all the produce!’ Fudge is one of my favourite indulgences too Sophie. Luckily I do some work for the best producer in the South West and have nominated self as chief taster accordingly.
The worst job Sophie ever had was ‘Really a job within a job’ as the vet who she worked for also kept his own pigeons, and every two months she had to go and clean out their roosting area. She says that ‘The smell was just horrific – as was cleaning up all their droppings!’ I certainly don’t envy you with this one Sophie. I’d be heading back to the fudge shop or the vets itself.
Sophie’s biggest customer service gripe is ‘Not knowing how to get hold of someone at a company – and not getting a response from them when you do! I had huge frustrations once with a big telecoms company who had mistakenly disconnected us and then sent us a huge bill for ending our contract early! After failing to get hold of anyone that could help, I found the CEO’s email address online and sent my angry email to him. That evening his PA replied and connected me to someone that sorted it all out. I was thankful it got sorted but so frustrated that I had to go to such lengths to get good customer service!’ I feel your pain here Sophie. Difficulty contacting companies has been the top of my list of complaints during the pandemic and I have been exasperated to the core as a result. Feel free to name and shame. It’s the only way some companies will learn.
The world of travel has had a battering over the last year. With consumer confidence slowly on the increase, I asked Sophie what would be her top tips for booking holidays in 2021.
- Book with a travel agent – it has never been more important to plan your holiday with a trusted travel advisor so you can have peace of mind that you have someone looking after you every step of the way.
- Book early – there is huge pent up demand for travel and as soon as the government begins lifting restrictions I think there will be a huge rush. I would advise anyone wanting to get away this year to start booking now. Plus lots of companies are being incredibly flexible so even if your trip doesn’t go ahead you should be able to move your booking or get your money back.
- Treat yourself! That might sound flippant but 2020 reminded us that life is short and we should make the most of every experience – travel and holidays and making memories are key to that.
Sophie’s weekday breakfast is a banana and coffee with oat milk but her weekend breakfast is ‘Much more fun – ideally waffles (made by my partner and soon to be wife!) with a caramel latte!’ That sounds just lovely Sophie, as soon as lockdown is over then I’m on my way!
In terms of who Sophie would love to have breakfast with (‘Other than her partner’ she says of course), then it’s another vote for Michelle Obama. Sophie is currently reading her autobiography and says she has ‘So many questions I’d love to ask her about the political state of America and her experiences at the White House.’ A fabulous and popular choice Sophie, this is one lady I would also love to meet.
Many thanks to The Queen of Travel Sophie Griffiths for being my fabulous breakfast guest. You can find her on the TTG Media website or on Twitter (where she says she can usually be found ‘Railing against the government and its lack of support for the travel industry’). Sophie is also on Instagram where she says her feed tends to be dominated by photos of her dog Bella and cat Tess. I do feel a tad mean now for hoofing privilegedpup of my feed but he does have a little account of his own now so hopefully I’m forgiven.
Until next time everyone! x