|THE TARGET ▼||WANTED ▼|
|Newark, Nottinghamshire||A budget family holiday|
Agency appearance (15%)
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.
1 The Arcade, Market Place
This was a nice-looking agency on the corner of the town’s main square. I was served immediately by a pleasant consultant who said it was a nice idea to travel with my mum. She said mainland Spain, Ibiza and Majorca would be the cheapest destinations. She recommended Costa Dorada as her friend used to go there every year and had fantastic holidays. She flicked through the Skytours brochure, saying this offered the cheapest family holidays. She pointed out that an apartment would not necessarily be cheaper than a hotel because I would have to pay under-occupancy supplements or the full adult price for the children. She said I should look at hotels as there were several, in Costa Dorada in particular, that sleep four in a room. Turning to a list of destinations at the back of the Skytours brochure, she put an asterix next to the ones she recommended. She also wrote down her name and telephone number on the front of the brochure. Before I left, she said: “Thomson would beat any price on the high street.”
12 St Marks Place
The brief was perhaps too broad for this consultant. She said there were lots of destinations I could consider, but then admitted my desire to fly from Doncaster narrowed my options. Looking at the Thomson brochure she said Minorca, Majorca and Bulgaria were the cheapest destinations. She said an apartment wouldn’t work out cheaper than a hotel as the children wouldn’t count towards the occupancy and I would have to pay a supplement, which would bump up the cost. She told me to book soon as Doncaster flights were popular.
|Ilkeston Co-op |
11a Stodman Street
The consultant was quite negative, saying all holidays in August would be expensive. She said only Thomson and Thomas Cook had flights from Doncaster, but she didn’t have any brochures, although she found a Skytours brochure. With a little pushing and poking, she suggested the Costa Dorada, Majorca, Ibiza, Zante and Corfu would be the cheapest destinations. She said if I chose a hotel, I would have to book two twin rooms and pay full price for the children so she suggested an aparthotel, but told me I’d have to find them myself in the brochure.
|Thomas Cook |
19 Market Place
The consultant painstakingly wrote down my request before collecting an armful of brochures, which she said were good for families. These included Airtours summer sun, Aspro and JMC. She told me to consider mainland Spain, the Greek islands or Turkey. She said only Thomson had Turkey flights from Doncaster and she had a copy of its 2007 brochure, which she didn’t offer to show me. She said an apartment was a good idea as it would give us more space, but she said it would be more expensive than finding a hotel room with four beds.
|TOP FIVE TIPS |
Tip 1: As an alternative to Spain, Greece or Turkey, Bulgaria is a good-value destination, where many hotels have family rooms and children’s facilities. Balkan Holidays and Thomson fly there from Doncaster.
Tip 2: Doncaster Airport serves a range of Mediterranean destinations, as well as Florida, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Tip 3: Thomson flies to a range of destinations from Doncaster. Its Skytours and Family brochures include a range of family holidays.
Tip 4: Other operators flying from Doncaster include Sunset, JMC, Thomas Cook and Airtours.
Tip 5: Gazetteers Plus shows the UK departure airports for all hotel and self-catering packaged holidays. This can be found by going to the tour operators page under a resort and clicking on the brochure link.
Mystery Shopper was looking for a cheap summer holiday with a difference. Instead of travelling with her husband, she was taking her mum along to help look after her two children.
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