Mystery shopper: A couple’s trip to Malaysia

Location: Islington, London
Wanted: A couple are looking for a 10-night trip to Malaysia next June. They want to combine a visit to Kuala Lumpur with a beach break.
Budget: £4,000

Flight Centre
244 Upper Street

I was greeted straight away by a friendly agent who remained patient and enthusiastic throughout, despite her computer crashing during our conversation. The agent asked lots of questions and apologised that she had no personal experience of Malaysia. I was impressed by the effort she made to research the best options. I was quoted £2,795 to stay at the Parkroyal in Kuala Lumpur and Berjaya Hotel in Langkawi, with flights with Malaysia Airlines. I wasn’t pressured into booking but the agent advised me that I could pay a deposit if I wanted to go ahead. I was impressedby the service, but the shop was noisy, which was a little offputting.

Real Holidays
66-68 Essex Road

The shop was clean and stylish. I was greeted by the receptionist within 20 seconds and offered a drink. The agent who assisted me was enthusiastic, although his approach was a little pushy at times. I was recommended a holiday with Kuoni, staying at the Shangri-La in Kuala Lumpur and the Andaman in Langkawi. The agent was the most knowledgeable on the destination,but could have been less forceful.

Thomas Cook
39 Islington High Street

I wasn’t acknowledged when I entered, and after browsing for a while, I asked for assistance. I was invited to wait – and it was more than 10 minutes before I was served. After asking lots of questions, the agent recommended a trip through Hayes & Jarvis. I was quoted £3,474 to stay at the Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa. I was told that if I booked within eight hours, I would save £150.

Winning agent – Becki Westphal, assistant manager

I have worked at Flight Centre for six years but have been in travel for 11 years. We have a really knowledgeable team at Flight Centre because to work here you either have to have a degree or have travelled to three continents.


The winning agent was friendly, patient and subtly encouraged me to book. I would have booked with her because of the great service provided.

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. 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 from Essex or a central location.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.