This week our secret shopper perused the offering for a fortnight in South Africa for £12k among the agents of Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and requested a 10 to 14-day tour for two people in South Africa, with a budget of £12,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘South Africa escorted tour’.
Thirsk Travel Centre
13 Market Place
Mystery Shopper said: The windows were obscured by posters and it was shabby inside. A consultant welcomed me, apologised that he had no 2017 brochures but said they were expected in the next 10 days. I was invited to discuss what I wanted from the trip. Our interaction was interrupted twice as he reassured an elderly couple that Monarch was still flying and he answered the phone to reassure a client that tickets would arrive that evening. I thought this highlighted the personal level of service on offer and each time he apologised to me. He asked many questions and used a map and the internet to highlight destinations and experiences. He also used testimonials from other clients about South Africa. I felt confident he was knowledgeable. A quote arrived just over 24 hours later for a tailor-made tour with African Pride. This came in at £6,158 including British Airways flights, on account of my Avios points. I liked the personalised service here.
The winner, Ian Barton from Thirsk Travel Centre, chose to work with African Pride, which has the following tips for visiting South Africa:
TTG has teamed up with React Surveys to simulate a realistic booking process each week – that means a mystery shopper looking for the best deal from agents and operators on the high street, online, on TV or in newspapers. The Mystery Shopper research is carried out on behalf of TTG by React Surveys,and no further details or information can be disclosed. Researchers take into consideration first impression, sales process, product and budget match and extras offered before giving an unbiased opinion of which channel/company they would have booked with on that occasion. We do not claim that the winner is the best in an area or specialist sector, as we may report on competing travel firms in the future. Please note that the aim of Mystery Shopper is not to criticise individual agents or companies, but to promote good sales technique for the benefit of all in the travel trade.