Location: Warrington
Wanted: A single parent with two primary school aged children is looking for a fun holiday in Portugal with a kids’ clubs and activities to give the parent a bit of a rest. They are happy to go during the summer school holidays or October half-term, and would like to know about airlines, airports and what’s included in the holiday.
Budget: £2,000

Tui Holiday Store
45 The Mall

Impression: The shop was clean and the four employees were tidy and presentable. But the window and brochure displays were not very engaging.

Service: I was greeted immediately by an enthusiastic agent offering to help. We looked at options in various parts of Portugal and the agent showed a good level of product knowledge. The recommendations suited my needs although the quotes took longer than usual as the company was in the process of changing its computer systems. The agent appeared to do everything possible to find the best holiday for me and I enjoyed my time in the shop.

Quotes: Both holidays were for seven nights in August, flying from Manchester to Faro for resorts in the Algarve with kids’ clubs. The first was with First Choice, staying at Salgados Palm Village, Praia Dos Salgados, on an all-inclusive basis for £2,221. The second was with Tui, staying at Club Alvorferias Apartments, Alvor, on a self-catering basis, for £1,732. It was nice to have both a self-catering and all-inclusive option to consider. Both quotes included insurance and transfers.

Overall: The upbeat agent gave their undivided attention to the shopper, who would have been happy to book, thanks to the quality of service and information.

Hays Travel
1 Market Gate

Impression: The shop was clean and employees were presentable, but the window displays were not that enticing.

Service: I was greeted immediately by a friendly, enthusiastic agent who offered plenty of options. The agent wrote their contact details on the quote, which was printed out for me, and I received an email afterwards as promised. I was told I had picked a good destination for families but wasn’t given that many specific details about the holidays. I felt I had the agent’s attention throughout my visit and they were genuinely trying to help me. The agent did try to close the sale, without putting too much pressure on me to book.

Quotes: Both quotes were seven-night Thomas Cook holidays in August, flying from Manchester to Faro with easyJet, including transfers to Albufeira and travel insurance. The first was a twin room in Vila Gale Cerro Alagoa, on a bed-and-breakfast basis for £1,891 and the second was in Vila Petra Aparthotel, on a self-catering basis for £1,781. The agent felt the first hotel was slightly better, but both offered the facilities I requested.

Overall: The shopper said the agent was upbeat and positive although there was some confusion about what was included in the prices.

Thomas Cook
9 Market Gate

Impression: The store and staff were well presented inside but the window and brochure displays would not have encouraged me to enter.

Service: I was given a warm welcome and spoke to a friendly agent immediately. The agent asked for some details and said I could leave them to research the holidays and email me quotations later that day. I was given a good range of choices to consider but no means of contacting the agent. I had to phone and ask for the email, which came when requested a second time. The agent gave me their undivided attention but did not make specific suggestions in the shop.

Quotes: Both quotes were for seven-night holidays in August flying from Manchester to the Algarve with Thomas Cook Airlines. The first was staying at Hotel Vila Gale Nautico in Armacao De Pera, costing £1,976 for an all-inclusive holiday and £1,877 on a half-board basis. The second was at smartline Amarilis (nb to subs Thomas Cook has smartline all l/c) on an all-inclusive basis for £1,964.

Overall: The shopper was rather surprised that the agent preferred to send quotes by email after the visit, and although the options received were suitable, they would have preferred to have more information.

Winning agent

Samantha O’Brien, travel advisor

“We don’t get that many enquiries for Portugal but keep up-to-date with in-house training. There is something for everyone in Portugal. I would recommend it for a family because there are plenty of beaches, bars, lovely restaurants and day trips to keep the children entertained.”


All agencies generated quotes that matched the brief. The winning Tui agent was a hit with the shopper, and offering all-inclusive accommodation to compare with self-catering was useful for the parent when weighing up options. The Hays agent performed well with a warm, positive manner, while the Thomas Cook agent was friendly but needed to be chased up to send the quotes.


The top-scoring agent each weeks bags a £25 Amazon or Love2Shop voucher, courtesy of Elite Island Resorts.

Elite Island Resorts offers eight all-inclusive beach properties in the Caribbean.

Antigua: Galley Bay Resort & Spa; Hammock Cove Resort & Spa; St James’s Club & Villas; The Verandah Resort & Spa; and Pineapple Beach Club.

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Saint Lucia: St James’s Club Morgan Bay

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