Mystery Shopper: Derby, Derbyshire

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     

Derby, DerbyshireA romantic city break to Stockholm, departing January 2007

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.

Thomson of 82 St Peter’s Street, Derby scored 25% (17 November 2006)Thomson
82 St Peter’s Street, Derby, Derbyshire

When I told the consultant what I was looking for, she replied that she couldn’t help me. The manager said the same thing and told me to go to their East Street branch as one of the consultants there had been to Stockholm.Since there were three sales assistants in this branch and only one customer, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t make an effort to help me at the shop I was in. If I’d been a customer I would have gone to either Going Places or Thomas Cook across the road, and would certainly not have bothered walking to the other branch.


Ilkeston Co-op Travel, of 26 St Peter’s Street, Derby scored 31% (17 November 2006)Ilkeston Co-op Travel
26 St Peter’s Street, Derby, Derbyshire

When I entered this agency, the three consultants seemed to be far too busy talking to approach me, so I went over to one of them myself. After 10 minutes this consultant still hadn’t been able to log on to her computer, so she brought me an Inghams brochure from upstairs. She said she could not suggest any hotels in Stockholm as she had never been there, and called Ilkeston Co-op telesales who weren’t able to recommend anything either. The consultant then gave me some prices for the Ilkeston packages, which I did not have a brochure for. All in all, I did not feel confident


Going Places of 69 St Peter’s Street, Derby scored 44% (17 November 2006)Going Places
69 St Peter’s Street, Derby, Derbyshire

Although there was a consultant sitting behind me while I looked at the brochures, it wasn’t until I turned around that she offered me any assistance. When I told her I wanted to go to Stockholm, the consultant asked me which part of the city I was interested in, adding that she did not know anything at all about the destination. I explained I was looking for a central hotel near to a shopping area, and she began to look for flights only, saying that it would be cheaper to book the accommodation separately even though I had not asked for a cheap deal. She recommended that I check with Superbreak and subsequently found me a hotel with this operator. She also suggested flights with British Airways. At least the consultant here made a decent effort to help me. But her overall lack of knowledge of the destination was obvious and it was clear that she did not know where to turn.

Score: 44%

Thomas Cook of Osnabruck Square, Derby received 68% - the highest score of the week (17 November 2006)Thomas Cook
Osnabruck Square, Derby, Derbyshire

I was instantly greeted by a trainee consultant who asked me if she could help. I said I was enquiring about Stockholm and she referred me to another consultant, who asked me for dates and a budget, where I wanted to fly from and if I wanted insurance. The consultant was very professional and continued by looking on the system for Thomas Cook Signature city breaks. She compared its prices with those with Thomas Cook flexible trips to see which would be the best deal for me. Although she did not look at any other operators and did not seem to know much about Stockholm, this consultant tried her best to be helpful and had a confident manner. At the end of the consultation she offered prices for insurance, along with my holiday quotes. Certainly the best service of the day.

Score: 68%


Tip 1:Sweden’s capital is one of Europe’s cleanest and most vibrant cities. Built on 14 islands, the city’s numerous waterways and many colourful old buildings make it also one of the most picturesque.

Tip 2:At the heart of the city is the delightful cobbled streets of the Gamla Stan, the old town. Other interesting districts include Djurgarden, the island of Skeppsholmen and the bohemian quarter of Sodermalm.

Tip 3:There is a wide range of accommodation, including many small boutique hotels with styles ranging from designer minimalism to traditional elegance.

Tip 4:Holidays are offered by all the main city break operators, as well as specialists such as Scantours and Specialised Tours.

Tip features independent reviews and photographs of no fewer than 50 hotels in Stockholm.


Mystery Shopper is feeling romantic and fancied a city-break to Stockholm. The request was for a central boutique hotel.

Most of the agencies had little knowledge of the destination and could not recommend any hotels; all relied heavily on brochures and consequently struggled to match the request. It also meant agents could not upsell any extras.

The crumb of comfort was that all outlets looked the part, each with a bright appearnace inside and out. Pity none were really able to give Mystery Shopper the service needed to confidently book a holiday.


Logo: DG&G GazeteersAbout, from DG&G Travel Information gives you a single website that means you need never fear being mystery shopped again! 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. provides agents with all the product knowledge you need to meet and exceed customer expectations. Log on at

mystery shopper black thumbTo view more Mystery Shopper articles click here 

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.