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PPA Independent Publishing Company of the Year 2019

The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Long Eaton and Borrowash, Derbyshire, and requested a 7 to 10-day rail holiday to Germany in September for a couple aged 40-plus, with a budget of £2,000


They then made two searches using the term ‘no-fly Germany holiday’.

The winner

The winner


9 Derby Road, Borrowash


Score: 78%


Mystery Shopper said: ­The store was neat and tidy and the displays were attractive. There were two consultants and they made me feel welcome. One asked me to sit. They asked lots of open questions and quickly found a relevant brochure. The break was only five days, but the consultant called the operator Rail Discoveries to ask about alternative tours and extra days.


The agent promised a quote within 24 hours but said it was dependent on what came through from Rail Discoveries. It was a week before I received any follow-up, which gave approximate costs. A Black Forest six-day tour with three extra nights in Strasbourg (for £1,929) matched well. The agent was very helpful in store but the disappointing follow-up held them back from a higher score.

Meet the consultant

Meet the consultant

Elaine Selby

senior travel consultant

Travelounge, Borrowash


Have you been in travel long?

For 30 odd years now. I’ve always worked for an independent. It’s been a lovely job. No two days are the same.

What fam trips stick out in your memory?

I’ve travelled quite a lot through work to San Francisco, Las Vegas, Croatia and Dubai. South Africa was fabulous.

Anything left on your travel bucket list?

Maldives and Mauritius. A colleague told me all about it.

How popular is Germany for you?

We don’t do a lot of it. Perhaps a couple of city breaks a year, but most people typically ask for Paris, Bruges or Prague

Is it common for clients to request extra days in destination at the end of an escorted tour?

Yes. It’s nice for them to have a few days to relax.

What destinations are doing well now?

Portugal and Croatia are becoming popular.


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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TTG - Travel Trade Gazette
For Smarter, Better, Fairer Travel
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