This week our roving service standards investigator visited Tamworth. How did the travel agents fare?
The Mystery Shopper visited two agencies in Tamworth and asked for a week self-catering at a holiday park in the West Country for a family of four, with access to a kitchen, on a budget of £1,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘holiday park West Country’.
Mystery Shopper said: The website was very well laid out, carried big images and was easy to use. A phone number was clear in the top right corner.
The search facility was excellent – I could search by region and by accommodation. On the results page each accommodation was rated, which made it easy to see the most popular, and price was clearly indicated. Caddy’s Corner Lodges in Cornwall were a near perfect fit for my needs (£1,035), and price and availability was clearly marked for specific lodges. The booking process was straightforward. There were different payment options, including paying off the balance in stages. I thought this logical website was excellent, and it felt like the best way to book this holiday.
Tariq Khan, head of trade sales, Hoseasons
Which lodges are good for a family with young children?
Our Evermore Collection is perfect for families looking for a luxurious short break with young children. Gwel an Mor in Cornwall has a wildlife centre on site where children can get up close to a range of animals from rescue foxes to reindeer.
When are the best value deals for UK lodges?
The south-west is our most popular area so customers tend to book early for peak periods. However, there are some great value mid-week deals for those travelling off peak.
What trends are you noticing for 2016?
Luxury lodges with hot tubs and Wi-Fi are proving popular.
One final tip for agents?
Shorter breaks show no sign of slowing, so agents should always offer a domestic stay off the back of a main holiday.
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.