Seller of the week

15 Sep 2016

Mystery Shopper's seller of the week: Phil Laycock, Thomas Cook

This week our undercover shopper was in Ayr booking a fortnight escorted tour for two in Chile.

Seller of the week - Phil Laycock

The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Ayr, Scotland, and requested a two-week escorted tour for two people in Chile, with a budget of £9,000.


They then made two searches using the term ‘Adventure holiday Chile’.

The winner

The winner

Thomas Cook
5 Alloway Street


Score 88%


Mystery Shopper said: This shop was tidy and well lit. The consultants were busy when I went inside and I had to wait a few minutes before one of them approached me. He was warm and friendly, introducing himself and asking for my name. I was asked open questions to find out about the holiday and the consultant seemed excited about my trip to Chile – making me feel like a valued customer from the moment I sat down. He was unable to find any Chile holidays in the Cook brochure so asked a colleague who recommended a specialist tour operator. The consultant called the company and showed me pictures of the holidays and itineraries on offer. The call with the operator took a long time and the chatty consultant suggested getting in touch with me later to let me know the prices, which he did by email later that day. The best package was with G Adventures for £6,768 that ticked all the boxes. This was the only enquiry where they thought to add the internal flight to London for me.

Meet the consultant

Meet the consultant

Phil Laycock,
Travel consultant,
Thomas Cook


How long in your current shop?
Five years here and I’ve worked for Thomas Cook for about 17 years.

How long in travel?
I’ve been in travel retail for 25 years and before that I worked in payroll for British Airways.

What’s been selling well?
Florida, Australia and the Canaries have been selling well – we’ve been busy.

Do you get many enquiries for Chile?
It’s quite an unusual destination but I like to make sure I’m aware of every destination. There’s nothing worse if somebody comes in and you don’t even know who flies there.

Where do you like to go on holiday?
I love golf so that’s normally a big part of my holidays. I go to Gran Canaria three times a year and organise for a group of friends to go there too.

Where’s your next trip?
A five-star resort in Belek, Turkey.

React Surveys explainer / disclaimer

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.

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TTG Media Limited.
Place of registration: England and Wales.
Company number 08723341.
Registered address: New Bridge Street House, 30-34 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6BJ
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