Travel Weekly’s Mystery Shopper calls on travel agents across the UK each week to check agency appearance, brochure racking, product knowledge, sales technique and staff attitude
Travel Weekly’s Mystery Shopper in association with Gazetteers Plus.
|THE TARGET ▼||WANTED ▼|
|Eastleigh, Hampshire||A spa break for two|
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.
78 Market Street
There was only one consultant in the shop and she was busy dealing with a customer. However, she did acknowledge my arrival and told me she would only be a few minutes. I was left to browse the brochure racks, but I couldn’t find any that featured spa holidays. When the consultant came to help she looked a bit vague and said the agency didn’t sell spa holidays as such. She suggested I looked through the Thomson A La Carte brochure for a nice hotel and then check on its website to see if it offered spa facilities.
|Going Places |
86 Market Street
I was served by an agent who had her hands full of posters. She suggested I looked at the Airtours Prestige brochure for a five-star hotel with a spa, but she didn’t recommend one. Her colleague said Malta had good spa properties and she recommended Belleair Holidays’ brochure. Opening it up she showed me a list at the front that highlighted hotels with spas. She said they were all of a very high standard. The first consultant then gave me her business card and told me to call or pop in if I needed any prices.
|First Choice |
82 Market Street
One of the two consultants gave me the Sunsail Clubs brochure. She said all of its resorts featured spas, but she didn’t highlight any particular resort and she didn’t even bother to show me the page at the beginning which gave a rundown of the type of treatments available. She told me not to be put off by the title as clients didn’t have to sail to go on a Sunsail holiday, but she didn’t mention yoga or pilates. She said I should also consider a cruise as an ‘easy’ alternative. She recommended Island Cruises and gave me a copy of the brochure.
|Thomas Cook |
59 Market Street
Two consultants were available and both offered to help. One of them immediately suggested a cruise, saying the cruise ships had good spas offering a wide range of treatments and well-equipped gyms. When I said this wasn’t what I was looking for the second agent suggested I looked at the Thomas Cook Spa and Sport brochure. Her colleague found me a copy and showed me it featured lots of hotels with spas. She recommended the Sani Beach Resort hotel in Crete, which offered a pilates programme. She said it was a fabulous property with lots of facilities and it was highly recommended by previous clients. She pointed out all the treatments would be an additional cost, but she said she could prebook everything for me. In the brochure, she showed me a ‘face and body’ package for £49, which gave some indication of prices. The property also had a sauna and a hammam and offered diving. As an alternative, she suggested Thailand, where I could get a cheap Thai massage every day.
|TOP FIVE TIPS |
Tip 1: The Fortina Hotel in Malta has an extensive spa centre, and offers a wide range of treatments, including thalassotherapy and pilates. It is featured by several operators including Airtours, Belleair, Sunspot and Thomas Cook.
Tip 2: The Sani Beach Resort is in Halkidiki, not Crete, but does offer an extensive range of treatments.
Tip 3: Thomas Cook’s Spa and Sport brochure showcases many Med hotels with spas.
Tip 4: Specialist operator Erna Low offers health and beauty holidays in 24 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece and Cyprus.
Tip 5: Spa holidays can be found on Gazetteersplus under Spas/health and beauty; however, this only includes dedicated holidays or operators who offer prebookable packages.
This week Mystery Shopper was looking for a spa break as a treat to herself and her friend. They wanted to go somewhere in the Mediterranean that would be warm but not too hot.
About Gazetteers Plus
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