The Mystery Shopper visited two travel agencies in Ripon, North Yorkshire, and requested a two to three-night Paris city break for two people at a good-quality hotel with spa facilities, with a maximum budget of £1,400.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘France city break’.
Mystery Shopper said: The strong and lively colours of the window display made a good initial impression and the warm, bright theme continued inside. The well-presented consultants all had desks facing the door to welcome customers. A consultant stood up to greet me and asked about my travel plans. They showed me brochures and mentioned Hays’ own deals as well as conducting an internet search, keeping me informed throughout the process.
The search was narrowed to hotels with spas in Paris and they looked for the best deals and talked about add-ons such as airport parking. They found a package with Air France from Manchester but the time of the return flight was unsuitable, so the consultant found a better flight, with the same price of £960 for two people for three nights at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Hotel, Paris Eiffel. The consultant asked for a suitable time for a follow-up call and took my details. I received an email two days later to ask if I needed further help, which added to my very positive impression of the agency.
How long have you been in travel?
I’ve only been an apprentice since August. I did travel and tourism as an A-level at college and then saw the job advertised.
What do you like about your job?
I really enjoy meeting lots of different people and finding out about different places.
Where do you go on your holidays?
Places like Cyprus and Lanzarote.
What’s your dream destination?
Mexico – there’s so much to do there.
Are customers still going to Paris?
It’s still very popular with our customers – it’s such a short flight to get there.
What else is selling well for you?
Family holidays and all-inclusives. Mainland Spain and the islands are doing well. We also do quite a lot of UK, such as coach holidays and breaks to London.
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.