The mystery shopper visited two agencies in Bexhill-on-Sea and requested a seven-night all-inclusive resort holiday to Mexico in January 2016, for two adults and three children, with a budget of £3,000-£4,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘all-inclusive resort holiday Mexico’
Mystery Shopper said: The exterior was clean and the window displays inviting. Inside it felt spacious and calm. I wasn’t greeted until a few minutes later, but the consultant was friendly, smartly dressed and asked lots of questions to ascertain my needs. They didn’t ask about budget, so the first package they offered was too expensive. They then asked about my budget and after suggesting a couple of options found a suitable child-friendly hotel, which was £3,511, staying at the Great Parnassus Resort & Spa, Cancun.
The consultant involved me by showing me pictures on the computer. When they looked online, they found the holiday was a few hundred pounds cheaper and said they’d honour the price. They took my details, printed the quote and suggested there was room to negotiate over the deposit. I left feeling excited about a great holiday that fitted my requirements and a follow-up call made me feel like a valued customer.
Joanne Jamieson, travel adviser, Thomson
Have you been in travel long?
I started when I was 22 - so about 19 years. I was with Thomas Cook for 12 years and I’ve been at Thomson for just under a year.
Is Mexico a destination you’ve visited before?
I went on holiday to Playa del Carmen in 2009. I love Mexico.
Any selling tips for families?
Kids clubs and splash parks are always good. Most parents don’t want to be in separate rooms to their children - some hotels offer family rooms, so you need to trawl through the options.
Is it important to offer clients more than one option?
Yes - because clients don’t always tell you if a single option is the right thing, and then they’ll go outside and try somewhere else.
Any exciting holidays lined up?
I’ve just come back from Menorca and I’m taking my three-year-old daughter to Disneyland Paris in August.
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.