The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Morpeth, Northumberland and requested a one-week holiday at a four-star resort in the Maldives for a couple, travelling over Easter, with a budget of £4,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘four-star Maldives holiday’.
4 Market Place
Mystery Shopper said: The shop had only recently opened and it was immaculate. The bright orange paint made it warm and inviting. I was immediately greeted by a smartly dressed consultant. They invited me to sit down and asked questions including my budget and preferred airport. They recommended islands based on client feedback. We talked about many different options, then narrowed it down to one, the Reethi Beach Resort, for £4,000, for the dates requested, flying from Newcastle at a convenient time. When they emailed me the details later that same day, they had moved the departure date forward by a day, as it was significantly cheaper. They encouraged me to book as soon as possible as prices fluctuated daily and they said post-Christmas was a busy time. I was tempted to book as they delivered a personal and bespoke package that met all my requirements.
How long at Hays Travel?
We only opened on September 12 last year so we’re a brand new store.
How many years in travel?
I’ve been an agent for 10 years. I was a manager at Thomson before this.
Is the Maldives a popular request?
Yes, for honeymooners, special occasions and that holiday of a lifetime.
How do you sell the different islands?
It comes down to the customer, whether they want something small and intimate or a bigger island with more choice of restaurants.
Have you been to the Maldives?
It’s on my wish list. I’m getting married this year, and we’re deciding between the Maldives, Mauritius and a cruise for our honeymoon!
What was your best Christmas present?
My grandmother gave us a big cheque – she forgot she’d already given us money for our house, and refused to take it back!
What’s looking hot for 2016?
We’re booking lots of cruises, and North Cyprus and Iceland are doing well.
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.