The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Truro, Cornwall and requested a five-night stay in Singapore for two friends in February 2017, with a budget of £2,500.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘Singapore city break’.
6 Boscawen Street,
Mystery Shopper said: The agency’s exterior was clean, bright and welcoming, and a friendly consultant approached me after I picked up a brochure. She asked what I was looking for and when I said Singapore, she quickly found the correct section in a brochure, and invited me to sit down. The consultant showed me the screen and asked me what I liked to do on holiday and suggested suitable activities in Singapore. When I objected to the first hotel because it looked too sterile, she quickly came up with three better options. She found a package with Hayes & Jarvis staying at a five-star hotel, which matched my requirements and at a total price of £2,200 was within my budget. I was also given the option of spending an extra £146 for two excursions: high tea at Raffles and the night safari. The consultant tried to close the sale by saying that prices and availability could change. Although details of the package were printed for me, they did not contain the prices discussed and flight times were also not confirmed.
How long have you been working in travel?
About 30 years – I started at a tour operator and used to be manager at Going Places in Plymouth. I’ve been at this shop for 13 years.
Do you sell many holidays to Singapore?
We do a lot of trips to Australia and often sell stopovers in Singapore or Hong Kong.
What’s been selling well?
Spain, and particularly the Canaries and Balearics. For long-haul, Mexico and the Dom Rep are doing well.
What’s your favourite destination?
Mexico, because of its beaches, decent hotels and there’s plenty to do. I’ve been to the Riviera Maya several times.
Any destinations on the bucket list?
Thailand. I would love to go to places like Koh Samui and the Phi Phi Islands.
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.