The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Barnstaple, Devon, and requested a honeymoon for a couple in their thirties in Sri Lanka next May, with a maximum budget of £9,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘Sri Lanka beach holiday’.
48 High Street
Mystery Shopper said: This store made a good first impression with its eye-catching window display and holiday offers. As soon as I went inside, I was greeted by a cheerful consultant who offered her help. She seemed to have good knowledge of Sri Lanka and my requirements were fully discussed. Unfortunately she was unable to find a suitable holiday online, so called the in-house tour operator Signature. The consultant was held in a queue for most of my visit, but she used the time to talk about locations, hotels and tours in Sri Lanka, and mentioned insurance. She also suggested I should travel in early May for better weather. I was impressed by her ability to offer useful knowledge and advice, despite being stuck in a phone queue. Eventually, she suggested emailing me when she had secured the quote. I received the quote and further details later that day – it was priced at a total of £3,781 and met all my requirements.
Thomas Cook, Barnstaple
How long have you been working at your agency?
I’ve been in Barnstaple as assistant manager for six months.
How long in travel?
Twelve months – before I moved here I worked for the Thomas Cook call centre in Falkirk for six months. I was a catering manager before that.
Why did you make the switch to travel?
I’ve always loved to travel to experience different cultures and countries. The opportunity came up at the right time.
Are you enjoying it?
I love it – it’s great meeting people and finding them the perfect holiday.
Do you sell many holidays to Sri Lanka?
It was the first time I’ve done a quote for the destination.
What’s been selling well for you?
The Canaries and Mexico. We also do a lot of P&O Cruises.
Any personal travel plans?
I’m planning to go to Lanzarote and Cape Verde next year.
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.