Mystery shopper: a couple’s Northern Lights trip

Location:Leeds, West Yorkshire
Wanted: A couple would like to see the northern lights preferably in Norway or Finland – in January next year. They are looking for a week-long trip and would like to explore the area too.
Budget: £3,500

Bridge the World
21 Albion Place, 94%

The agent was friendly, enthusiastic and showed a lot of passion for his job. He took a genuine interest, giving me lots of information and advice. I was asked if I had enough time to go through various options and he did not rush my enquiry. The agent gave a quote with his contact details, inviting me to ring for more information or to book. He recommended a £1,744 trip, staying at Santa Claus Holiday Village on a bed-and-breakfast basis, flying with Finnair from Manchester. The agent also considered a northern lights minibus safari, with sleigh rides pulled by a reindeer and a snowmobile. I was offered upgrades on luggage, insurance and excursions. The agent tried to close the sale and was persuasive.

TheCo-operative Travel
81 Albion street, 76%

The agent was friendly, helpful and offered me a seat as soon as I entered the shop. I was recommended a £3,638 Transun Aurora Hunter holiday, with flights from Leeds-Bradford airport. Another agent printed excursion details, but the agent who served me did not attempt to upgrade. I was not asked if I would like to go ahead with the sale. This agent could have shown more passion when selling the trip to me.

STA Travel
88 Vicar Lane, 30%

I was greeted quickly but was soon told northern lights holidays did not occur in January and there were nothing available to book. The agent even referred me to another agency, suggesting it would have more choice. I was given a European brochure, but not shown any information on the holiday, as the agent said they couldn’t provide anything suitable. The agent could have asked more questions, rather than sending me away within three minutes.

Winning agent: Chris Inman, Travel Consultant

I have been a travel consultant for more than six years now, but started at Bridge the World, Leeds, on May 10 after returning from travelling in southeast Asia for two months. The best thing about my job is getting to talk about travel all day.


The winning agent suggested a suitable holiday, well within budget. The Co-operative Travel quote was over budget, while STA directed me to another agency over the road.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a Mercedes SLK for 10 days

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Any agent who is 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. The winners will be informed by Travel Weekly.

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