The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and requested a seven-night Antigua holiday in November for two people with flights, on a budget of £6,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘Antigua holiday’.
6 Pebble Lane
Mystery Shopper said: The shop’s window was attractive, bright and tidy and the interior was clean and modern. Within 30 seconds I was given a warm, friendly welcome and offered a drink and a seat. The consultant seemed to have a genuine interest in my requirements and seemed knowledgeable about the destination, recommending properties based on client feedback, plus optional extras. They suggested the Sandals Grande Antigua, flying direct from Gatwick with BA or Virgin. They offered a guide price of £5,374 from Kuoni’s website, but offered to phone around for a more competitive quote. The price included an upgrade to a Grand Luxe Club Level room and the consultant phoned their Sandals specialist at their sister store for more information. Before leaving I was given a tote bag with the brochure, plus a business card and quote, inside. I didn’t feel pressured into booking and was so impressed that I intend to return for future enquiries.
How long have you been in travel?
I used to work as an engineer building spaceships, but I got bored of that if you can believe it. I’ve been in travel for 28 years now, having opened Bailey’s Travel in 1988.
How common is an Antigua booking?
It’s a popular destination for us although I wouldn’t go as far to say it was our bread and butter. We are pretty widespread when it comes to destinations.
Have you been there?
I have never stayed overnight on the island but I did go on a Star Clipper cruise there a long time ago.
What’s your advice for selling Antigua?
You don’t need to have been to a destination to sell it. Be curious and try to understand it. Do a simple internet search and find out what’s on offer.
What’s on your bucket list?
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.