Agents and operators have slammed a TV holidays documentary claiming to show that a last minute deal is better value than booking in advance.

Channel 4 show ‘Holiday Secrets: Is Last Minute Best?’ compared a family holiday in Tenerife and suggested leaving booking to close to departure rather than six months in advance represented a saving of more than £1,000 on the £4,127 early booking price.

Presenter Scarlette Douglas said on the show: “It just shows that If you are willing to make a few compromises you can get a fabulous last minute family holiday for a great price.”

But agents rounded on the programme, with Aito Agents chair and Haslemere Travel owner Gemma Antrobus describing it as “an utter load of rubbish” for not comparing like-for-like holidays.

She pointed to the family booking the last minute deal having to move a couple of times in resort.

“Who wants to move (with kids) whilst on a week’s holiday?” she tweeted. “Certainly not anyone who books through Haslemere Travel.

“Next time Channel 4 you decided (sic) to do program (sic) that compares booking a holiday in advance verses booking last minute, at the very least compare like for like…..Oh that’s right you can’t because it’s not available and if it was it would be more expensive. No secret there!”

Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan said the programme makers should have got advice from a travel agent.

“Total embarrassing mess of a programme,” he tweeted. “Use an expert, a travel agent!”

Shearings national key account manager Claire Dutton also hit out, tweeting: “It’s only Jan 2nd but I think Holiday Secrets will be the main contender for ‘Most Useless Programme of the Year award’. It was cheaper because IT WASN’T THE SAME HOLIDAY!”

Sophie Thackeray, Classic Collection sales executive, best known as Conference Kittie on Twitter, took to the social media platform to say: “Yep I’ll arrive in resort drag my suitcase round and haggle with reception in various hotels. Utter nonsense and the best advert ever to use a travel agent.”

Sarah Revell (@srevell555) called on her Twitter followers to “ignore everything” shown on last night’s programme “if you are thinking of booking a holiday you actually want to go on”.

Hotelplan head of agency sales Julie Franklin also criticised the show for not comparing like-for-like arrangements, saying: “Not best advice for the consumer. Visit your travel agent and get a great deal.”

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