The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Bath and requested an escorted tour of Israel for a lone traveller for 7-12 days in October, with a budget of around £1,500-£2,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘escorted tour Israel’
Flight Centre, Bath
Mystery Shopper said: At first I was sceptical, as the window display was mostly about flights. The store was small but tidy and well laid out. A consultant called out “hello” when I entered and was very engaged. Three other consultants who were not serving joined in and their enthusiasm made it a fun experience. The consultant recapped my requirements and spoke with authority about various tour companies.
They recommended G Adventures and said as a lone traveller, I would be comfortable with the people they were likely to attract. The tour was over budget at £2,201 including flights but they tried to get the price down by comparing flights and they called a second company for another option. They also advised that as a lone traveller I could end up with a single room without paying the single supplement. They made everything clear and offered to hold flights for several days. The service provided made a strong case for using an agent rather than hunting for a better deal on the internet.
Danny Paines, travel consultant, Flight Centre
How long have you worked for Flight Centre?
About eight months now.
What did you do before?
I spent four years travelling and working in New Zealand, and I worked part-time in a travel agency in Queenstown.
How common is an Israel enquiry?
It is pretty unusual! Oman is more popular, and obviously Dubai.
Have you been to Dubai?
I have - I liked it. It’s full of glitz and glamour, it’s not too far and it’s always hot. It ticks a lot of boxes quite quickly.
What’s big right now?
Asia - Europe is very expensive at this time of year and people are looking for better value and adventure further afield.
Any holiday plans?
I’m off to America for the first time in September to do Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite and Las Vegas.
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.