Mystery Shopper: Romantic break in Rome

Location: Guildford, Surrey

Wanted: A romantic break in Rome. A couple would like to stay for four nights in May. They would like a city-centre hotel and are interested in booking a day trip to Pompeii.

Budget: £1,700

Thomas Cook
46 high street

I was welcomed as soon as I entered the shop by an agent who listened carefully to my request.

He gave me the impression he knew about Rome and showed me an Inghams brochure before recommending a four-night stay at the Miami Hotel, for £716, not including flights, as well as an ‘elite trip’ to Naples and Pompeii for £83 per adult.

The agent said the hotel was in the centre of Rome, near the Spanish Steps. I was not told the times of the flight, I was just asked where I’d like to fly from.

The agent did not try to close the sale – he was happy for me to take the information away and consider. I was impressed with the agent’s knowledge but would have appreciated a total cost.

Flight Centre
23 swan lane

The agent took care to ask my budget and attempted to meet my requirements. A lot of research was done in the store, but I did not see any images of hotels, apart from thumbnails on the computer.

The agent needed a bit of advice from colleagues at one point and although the consultant was happy to trawl the web for flights, it took a long time. The biggest problem was the agent failed to email me any holiday options.

42 high street

The shop looked inviting from the outside, however the agent didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about my holiday.

It took a while for my query to be dealt with and when I was eventually spoken to the staff member gave me a brochure and said if I was interested I could contact another agent in the store.

I was not asked my budget or requirements and when I asked about a tour I was directed to a chapter in the brochure.


None of the agencies managed to give me a total holiday cost despite me pushing for this. Overall it was a disappointing week.

Winning Agent

Plamen Yordanov, travel consultant
“I have worked in this role for a year and a half and have worked in the travel industry for 10 years, starting out as a tour guide in Bulgaria. Travel is my passion and I could not imagine doing a job that does not involve working with the public and finding someone their perfect holiday.”

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