This week we went undercover in Darlington booking a minibreak for two to Ras Al Khaimah.
The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Darlington, County Durham, and requested a four-night holiday in October for two adults in Ras Al Khaimah, with a budget of £1,800.
They then made two Google.co.uk searches using the term ‘Ras Al Khaimah four-night holiday’.
2 Cockerton Green
Mystery Shopper said: The office was large and well maintained, and the four agents were smartly dressed. The agent nearest the door offered to help. Another agent told them where to look for information on the destination. The original agent asked about my desired hotel facilities and showed me pictures in a brochure. They recommended the Acacia Hotel, telling me it was a popular choice, and warning that prices changed all the time. I was not asked about my budget but the agent did search around to find the best price. They recommended a deal including Emirates flights from Newcastle and transfers for £1,573. I was asked if I wanted to book today and they said they would save the quote in the system. The agent impressed me with their descriptions of the hotel and the option of a private transfer by taxi. Our interaction was friendly, unhurried and tailored towards my needs.
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.