The Mystery Shopper visited two agencies in Ferndown, Dorset, and asked for an Arctic expedition cruise for a couple for seven to 12 nights with a wish to see polar bears on a maximum budget of £8,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘arctic expedition cruise’.
Mystery Shopper said: The site looked attractive and professional, with inviting colours on a rotating background. There were stunning pictures of landscapes and polar bears, which made it more appealing to my enquiry. When the results came up, the itinerary was clearly laid out. The first result looked the best match, Iceland and Northwest Spitsbergen. There were lots of helpful tips, such as clothing to wear and local pricing of food and drink. A price guarantee promise was reassuring. Flights could be included as part of the total package. The prices were not available when I called, but the consultant followed up later with an email quote that included flight prices. This would have encouraged me to book.
Iceland and Northwest Spitsbergen tour:
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.