This week our intrepid undercover shopper pounded the streets of north-west Wales looking for an escorted tour of Japan.
The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in north-west Wales and requested a 9-11 night escorted tour of Japan in May 2016, with a maximum budget of £5,000.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘escorted tour Japan’
Mystery Shopper said: The site was high up in the search listing and gave a great first impression with strong images, enticing text and a traditional design.
The online chat process was excellent – the consultant, a Japan specialist, quoted two tours. The price included Gatwick flights, but they said Heathrow was also available. As I live fairly remote, the web chat concept worked for me. The chat was more personal than email because it gave me the attention of a specialist consultant. The descriptions for the Heart of Japan tour at £4,614 were detailed and attractive and left me in no doubt about the quality and depth of the experience. I was impressed by the range of excursions included and their originality.
The consultant gave me their direct line and email address, and I was encouraged to contact them to book when I had a chance to read through the proposal. It was an excellent, prompt service that felt personal and professional.
Personal travel expert
How long in travel?
About 20 years. I started at an independent agency and also worked for six years in a reservations call centre. I’ve been with Kuoni for eight and a half years now.
Do you sell much Japan?
We do a lot of the Far East and were getting more enquiries for Japan these days.
Is Japan a popular destination for escorted tours?
We don’t get asked for much tailor-made travel in Japan. Because of the language barrier and the distinct culture people tend to feel a little safer on an organised tour.
And is it a seasonal destination?
Yes. Spring and autumn are the most popular.
Have you been on any exciting trips recently?
I’ve just got back from a personal trip with my husband to Israel, and before that I went to New Zealand with work, which was amazing.
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.