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PPA Independent Publishing Company of the Year 2019

The mystery shopper visited two travel agencies in Aberdare, Wales and requested a two-week pass for Orlando attractions in March 2016, including SeaWorld and Universal Orlando, with a maximum budget of £440.


They then made two searches using the term ‘Orlando theme park pass’

The winner

The winner

Thomson, Commercial Street


Score: 92%


See the 2015 leaderboard


Mystery Shopper said: ­The store had an organised, welcoming, professional feel. I was immediately acknowledged and invited to take a seat. The consultant made me feel at ease. They spoke in a positive, friendly manner throughout our interaction. They talked about their own Orlando holiday, and asked about my budget, personal details and what I wanted from the holiday. They explained the differences between products and demonstrated a high level of knowledge. Although a six-park flexible ticket at £516 was over my budget, the consultant explained the value and talked about the attractions. They were very persuasive in pushing the sale, and I felt excited by the conversation. They mentioned other products they could book for me and said I could contact them by phone if I wanted to proceed. I would recommend this agency because of the friendliness of the consultant. They had more than enough time for me.

Meet the consultant

Meet the consultant

Jodie Hobbs

Travel adviser



How long in travel?

About 10 years with Thomson and five years with Going Places before that.


Do you always offer ticket packages?

Yes, it’s part of the service we offer. It’s the best option for value because you never know how much the tickets will be on the gate.


Have you been to the Florida parks?

A few years ago we took our daughters to Disney, Universal and SeaWorld.


Which was your favourite?

Animal Kingdom – I just love giraffes.


Are you a daredevil on the rides?

Yes, I’ll do them all. Our favourite was Walhalla Wave in Aquatica because the whole family can ride in a raft together.


Where is on your bucket list?

A Royal Caribbean cruise.


Any famous connections?

Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics grew up near Aberdare. I book his father’s holiday every year!

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 - Travel Trade Gazette
For Smarter, Better, Fairer Travel
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Place of registration: England and Wales.
Company number 08723341.
Registered address: 6th Floor, 2 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU