Wanted: A three-generation family – mum and dad, two kids aged seven and nine, plus granny and grandad – want a week in Europe in the school summer holidays.
Old Christchurch Road
The staff were friendly and I was offered a hot drink. The agent took lots of details about our requirements and emailed quotes for two villa holidays. Both were for seven nights’ self-catering with James Villa Holidays, flying with easyJet from Gatwick on July 27 and including car hire and airport parking. The first was a three-bedroom villa with a pool, in the French town of La Napoule, for £4,794. The second was in Italy, at Villa Verde in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, for £5,994. The suggestions met the brief but didn’t give me much information. The service and staff were professional, and the agent used his knowledge and experience to find these deals.
Old Christchurch Road
The agent was an apprentice who was very keen to find me a good deal. Information in the quotes was clear. I was offered two quotes for contrasting budgets. The first was with James Villa Holidays, staying at Villa Stephanotis in Mellieha, Malta, with car hire and flights, for £5,623. The second was in France with Al Fresco Holidays, in a three-bedroom Vivaldi mobile home at Les Mediterranees Charlemagne in Languedoc, for £2,604.
Fred Olsen Travel
Beales Department Stores
I was the only customer and both staff members discussed my requirements. They were unable to suggest specific options during my visit but emailed me quotes. The first was flying with Norwegian Air and staying at San Pietro apartments in Italy, for £4,849. The second was flying with easyJet and staying at Eden Apartments in Peschiera, Italy, including coach transfers, for £3,843. I would have liked more details.
John Cummings, branch manager
“Customers feel more relaxed chatting over a hot drink. We find out their needs and wants. Customer care is all about smiles and service.”
Flight Centre and Hays Travel did well, with agents keen to find out requirements. Hays’ second quote was well below budget, so the agent missed an opportunity. The Fred Olsen staff were friendly but the information was a bit sketchy.
The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location.
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