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 ▼|
|Bolton, Lancashire||A twin-centre holiday to Singapore and Bali|
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.
|Co-op Travel, 20 Corporation Street|
As I walked through the door the consultant asked if she could help. I told her I was looking for a twin-centre holiday in Singapore and Bali and she advised that Tradewinds offered good deals. The consultant took down my details and phoned the operator but was kept on hold for a long time. While she was waiting she didn’t offer to show me any other brochures or suggest any different companies, nor did she offer any other information on the areas I had requested. Eventually she said she would call me at home later that day with the information I asked for, which she failed to do.
|First Choice, 45-47 Deansgate|
When I entered the agency the only consultant in the shop was on the phone. I looked at some brochures for a few minutes and then approached the desk. The consultant ended her call and asked if I needed help. When I explained what I was looking for, she did not suggest an operator but asked for the Hayes and Jarvis Far East brochure that I was holding. She flicked through it and showed me a hotel in Singapore and one in Bali. I asked for prices and she said she would call the operator. She was on hold for several minutes. She offered to call me at home with the information. The call never came.
|Harvey World Travel, 48 King William Street|
There was only one agent in the shop and she was with a customer. After a few minutes she approached me. I told her what I was looking for and she took my details. She apologised for not having anyone else to deal with my query but gave me some brochures and said she would phone me later. I left the agency and she called at 4.30pm and told me she had found a price for hotels in Singapore and Bali. She went through the details and costs. She said she would have another look at get back to me. At 5.30 I got another call with a better deal from the Hayes and Jarvis brochure.
|Thomson, Unit 1/5, Crompton Place |
After browsing the brochure racks for a short time, the consultant asked if she could help. When I told her I was looking for a twin-centre holiday, she immediately went for the Kuoni brochure. She suggested a couple of hotels in each resort. While I was reading the descriptions of the hotels, the consultant phoned the tour operator but was kept on hold for a long time. While waiting to get through to Kuoni the consultant was also looking at the Gazetteers Plus website and printed country descriptions for Bali and Singapore, plus information on the four suggested hotels. As the consultant had not received any information from Kuoni over the phone at that point, she offered to phone me at home later that day when she had some prices. I left the Thomson shop with the printed information from Gazetteers Plus and I was phoned in the afternoon with a very good price for the holiday. The printed information on the destinations and hotels was very useful.
|TOP FIVE TIPS|
Tip 1:Singapore and Bali make a popular twin-centre combination, offered by virtually all tour operators to the Far East.
Tip 2:Most hotels in Singapore are in the centre or on Sentosa Island. One of the closest to the airport is the Meridien Changi Village, which has a rooftop pool and is offered by Travel 2.
Tip 3:Sanur is one of Bali’s more sophisticated resorts. Hotels here include the Bali Hyatt, Griya Santrian and Puri Santrian.
Tip 4: The Gazetteers Plus website features resort maps which can help locate hotels near an airport or the beach.
Tip 5: Gazetteers Plus also list certain facilities to help choose a hotel, two of which are air conditioning and swimming pools.
Mystery Shopper was looking for a twin-centre holiday to Singapore and Bali for her and her partner. She wanted to spend three nights in a central hotel in Singapore and 10 nights in a beachside property in Bali. Mystery Shopper had heard Singapore was humid so would like a hotel close to the airport with a pool and air conditioning. In Bali, the couple were hoping to stay in Sanur. The request was not straightforward and needed the agents to use their knowledge of the areas or use guidebooks or brochures. The winning agent was confident in her approach and went straight for a brochure that she knew would suit Mystery Shopper’s needs. Some agents couldn’t offer a price or availability at the time of call and so offered to call them later, but only one actually called back.
About 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 www.gazetteers.com.
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