The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Lichfield and requested a short break for a family of four in Swedish or Finnish Lapland in early December, with a budget ceiling of £5,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘family holiday Lapland’.
Mystery Shopper said: The website had a lot of red on the page, which made it difficult to read, although it was very easy to use and a contact number was clearly visible.
The consultant was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the holiday. They had visited Lapland several times and were able to give personal recommendations. There were no pauses in the conversation. They reassured me that activities were carefully managed so there wouldn’t be long queues.
The itinerary was excellent and the consultant made it sound appealing for both adults and children. It came within budget at £3,188 and fell within the right dates, flying from Manchester. They asked if I was ready to book. I said I wanted to confer with my partner, so they gave me their direct number and encouraged me to call back with any further questions or to book.
Heather Dunbar, sales agent, Cosmos
How long at Cosmos?
14 years. I’m one of their few homeworkers.
Is Lapland a popular enquiry?
It is at this time of year. It tends to be quiet the rest of the year then in September, Lapland goes boom!
Do people know what they want?
Most people are first-timers, so they’re happy to take direction on hotels, but they want to know which activities are included.
Have you been before?
Yes, I’ve stayed at the Sirkantahti and Levistar Hotels in Finnish Lapland. Even as an adult without children, it’s an amazing place. You forget Santa’s not real.
What makes Lapland so special?
The activities, snow and the staff! It’s so cold but they’re always so cheery.
Where do you like to holiday?
The Maldives, when I can afford it! Plus Dubai and the Canaries.
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.