The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Maesteg, Wales, and requested a five-night, five-star city break in Hong Kong for two adults, with a budget of £2,000 in October 2016.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘Hong Kong city break’.
Mystery Shopper said: The website appeared as a sponsored advert in my Google search. I was instantly drawn to it as the name was different from any other online travel agent. The website looked professional, had an element of luxury about it and featured eye-catching colours.
The Google link took me straight to a page on Hong Kong breaks with appealing photos of the city. It was easy to search the website according to my needs. When I clicked on each individual holiday, all the details, such as flight times, were displayed. I liked that each hotel had a link to TripAdvisor. The most suitable option given was the Mira Hong Kong hotel, flying with British Airways, which was within budget at £1,998.
After selecting this holiday, I was led to a screen that offered extras to complete my holiday, such as insurance and transfers. I felt I had received all the necessary information needed to book, and the website imagery promoted an element of luxury that encouraged me to book.
Kim Balkwill, product executive, Destinology, Far East
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.