Mystery Shopper: Llandudno, Gwynedd

Logo: DG&G Gazetteers    In association with Gazetteers Plus

Llandudno, GwyneddAfrica safari and beach

Each week, Mystery Shopper calls on agents across the UK. Shops are judged on five criteria:

Agency appearance (15%)
Brochure racking (10%)
Product knowledge (25%)
Sales technique (25%)
Staff attitude (25%)

The top-scoring agency receives a Travel Weekly certificate of commendation. Agencies must score a minimum of 60% to qualify. Any agency that scores under 30% will be named and shamed as this week’s Shop of Horrors. Please note, no additional information will be given about Mystery Shopper’s visits.

mystery shopper 200106 - going placesGOING PLACES
92 Mostyn Street

Two consultants were serving one client and neither of them acknowledged my presence until the client was about to leave. Neither consultant knew of any destinations that offered safari and beach, other than Kenya, but one offered me a Virgin brochure, which, she said, was bound to do safaris because it had a lion on the front. Flicking through it, she said it did offer safaris in South Africa, which she said could be combined with a beach resort in Mauritius. She didn’t bother to look for any other brochures and further advice was not forthcoming.

Score: 29%

mystery shopper 200106 - thomsonTHOMSON
Unit 18, Victoria Centre

One consultant was free but she didn’t acknowledge me until I approached her for help. She gave me the Thomson A la Carte brochure, but the only safari destination it featured was Kenya. She said I needed a copy of the Kuoni Safari brochure and went to look for one. She disappeared for a long time and returned empty handed, but she did offer to order a copy to be sent to me. She said the Kuoni brochure was definitely the best one for safaris, but she said without a copy to refer to, she couldn’t suggest any suitable countries.

Score: 37%

mystery shopper 200106 - co-opCO-OP TRAVEL DIRECT
0870 243 0800

The phone rang for ages and someone answered it, she turned be from the foreign-exchange so she was unable to help me. to pass my details on to a a few hours later, a consultant with details of a 14-day package Africa, including five days on Kruger National Park followed by days in a five-star hotel in Cape focused heavily on the price, £4, offered few other details, a copy of the Tradewinds brochure

Score: 50%

mystery shopper 200106 - take-offTAKE-OFF
0870 707 0787

The phone was answered immediately. The consultant admitted she didn’t know of any destinations, apart from Kenya, that offered a combination of beach holiday and safari, but she said she would look into my request and get back to me. She asked me for my budget, the time of year I wanted to travel, what standard and type of board I was looking for, and where I wanted to fly from. She called me a short while later with a package that combined a three-night safari in Tanzania with a 10-day beach holiday in Zanzibar, which she said was “lovely”. The package, which came in significantly under budget at £4,118 for two people, for a departure in early July, included one night in Nairobi. The consultant read out the basic details of the package, including the names of the national parks featured in the safari and the fact the accommodation in Zanzibar would be in a superior hotel on a half-board basis. However, she wasn’t able to offer me information about the wildlife or other attractions. She suggested I log on to the Kuoni website to find the information for myself.

Score: 55%


Tip 1: Tanzania is a good alternative safari destination to Kenya. There are some excellent national parks for game viewing, including Lake Manyara, Tarangire, and the famous Serengeti.

Tip 2: One of Tanzania’s most spectacular reserves is the Ngorongoro – the crater of a collapsed volcano, more than 10 miles wide.

Tip 3: Kuoni, Hayes and Jarvis, Thomas Cook, Thomson and Virgin all offer the option of combining a one-week safari in Tanzania with a week on the island of Zanzibar.

Tip 4: Another alternative could be South Africa, where Kruger National Park offers excellent game-viewing opportunities.

Tip 5: Virgin offers the option of combining a five-night safari with Mauritius or the Seychelles.


This week, Mystery Shopperwas looking for a safari and beach holiday in Africa. She had already been to Kenya so she was hoping agents would be able to suggest somewhere else. She wanted to go for two weeks and spend up to seven days on safari and at least one week on a beach. She didn’t mind whether the safari or the beach part of the holiday came first. She said she would be travelling with her partner and they had a total budget of £5,000. They planned to go in the second half of this year and she wanted advice on the best month to travel. None of the agents knew instantly where to recommend, but a couple managed to find some interesting options. Neither would have clinched a sale, however, as a real client would have required a great deal more information than they were able to offer before booking this kind of holiday.

Logo: DG&G GazeteersAbout Gazetteers Plus

Gazetteers Plus, from DG&G Travel Information gives you a single website that means you need never fear being mystery shopped again! Gazetteers Plus combines all our unique and unbiased data – destination/resort guides, hotel reviews, tour operator details, passport and visa – and sorts it the way you want it. With superb search functionality and additional hi-tech features such as online brochures, photos and interactive maps, you’ll find it hard to believe that travel agents ever managed without it. Gazetteers Plus provides agents with all the product knowledge you need to meet and exceed customer expectations. Log on at

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