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The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Eastbourne, East Sussex, and requested a 14 to 17-day self-drive tour to Western Canada for a retired couple, with a budget of £9,000, in June 2017.

They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘self-drive tour Western Canada’.

The winner

The winner

Audley Travel


Score 100%


Mystery Shopper said: Audley Travel came in the top half on the first page of the Google search and had a 98% satisfaction rating. Navigating the site was straightforward and I liked the descriptions and images. I completed the Contact Us section, asking for a call back, which I received at my specified time. The consultant was very friendly and knowledgeable, and asked about my requirements. She explained she had been to the area, and spoke with real enthusiasm and knowledge about the options. The itinerary was good and the quote was under budget at £8,420. She promised to send the itinerary that afternoon, which she did, and also stressed that I could change anything I didn’t like about the holiday. She pointed out the importance of acting fast to secure this price but was not overly pushy. I received a follow-up call from the consultant the next day to see if I wanted to make the booking.

Meet the consultant

Meet the consultant

Anna Barford,
country specialist,
Audley Travel


How long in travel?
I’ve been with Audley for four and half years. Previously I worked in Whistler in Canada, where I curated a history exhibit at the Whistler Museum.

How often do you sell Canadian self-drive holidays?
Canada is my area of expertise so I do sell it quite a lot.

Tips for selling it?
Make sure clients know how long drives can be. Really sell the benefits of car travel as it can take them places away from the crowds.

Bucket list destinations?
I would love to see Argentina, New Zealand and Brazil. I like mountains and hiking. I’m not really a beach holiday kind of girl.

Best fam trip?
Four weeks in Alaska, where I went hiking and visited the Katmai national park.

If you weren’t in travel what would you be?
Probably a ski instructor – it’s been my passion since I was young.

React Surveys explainer / disclaimer

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.

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