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.com.
|THE TARGET ?||WANTED ?|
|Whitby, North Yorkshire||A family winter holiday to Canada|
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.
|Whitby Travel Agency|
35 Flowergate, Whitby
After browsing for a couple of minutes, a consultant came over and gave me the Inghams and Virgin brochures. I asked about twin-centre holidays and the possibility of staying at an ice hotel, but she said there weren’t any in Canada and it would be better if I took the brochures and came back when I knew whether or not I wanted a ski holiday. She didn’t give me any more information on skiing holidays or any other options to help me decide. When I pressed her for prices she said she couldn’t give me any until I decided what I wanted. This was disappointing, as it would have helped me find out what was within my budget.
53 Baxtergate, Whitby
I was left to look at the brochures for a while before an assistant offered any help. She gave me two brochures, but when I asked for more detail, she told me she wasn’t experienced enough to give me any advice on Canada. The consultant suggested I take the brochures away with me and once I had decided what I wanted she could give me some prices. I tried to get more information, but she insisted it would be better to call back later in the week when they would have the new Inghams brochure in stock. Overall, I didn’t gain much information from this visit, and I wasn’t given the chance to discuss the ice hotel or what activities I required.
5 Flowergate, Whitby
This agency was being refurbished and was very busy. I browsed the brochure racks for a couple of minutes, before someone asked if they could help. When I explained what I was looking for the consultant advised me to speak to her colleague – a Canada specialist. Once she was available I explained what I was interested in. She immediately told me there was an ice hotel in Quebec but, if I wanted to ski, the best snow was in Whistler or Jasper on the west coast. She recommended booking a twin-centre holiday if I wanted to stay in the ice hotel, and handed me the ‘Canada Keep exploring’ and ‘Rocky Mountaineer Vacations’ brochures.This consultant was very pleasant and helpful and also apologised for the noise and mess created by the refurbishment. She gave me her business card and told me to call her if I had any more questions.
54 Baxtergate, Whitby
A consultant approached me immediately and asked if she could be of any help.After giving me the Inghams and Neilson brochures, she asked is she could be of further assistance so I asked about ice hotels. She said she didn’t know of any in Canada and then called Inghams and Neilson to see if she could get me on a twin-centre holiday, and gave me ideas on different ski resorts – such as Banff and Lake Louise, depending on my budget. Then she offered to get me prices on activities such as snowboarding, ice-skating and dog sledding, and gave me a quote for three different types of holiday. When I said I would have to think about it she gave me her business card and told me to phone her at any time. Overall, the information and advice I received was very helpful and this was definitely the best agency I visited in Whitby.
|TOP FIVE TIPS|
Tip 1: Canada’s ice hotel lies on the shores of Lake St Joseph in Quebec, 30 km from Quebec City.
Tip 2:The best ski resort in the area is the purpose-built resort of Mont-Tremblant. Although low-altitude, it has good snow from November to April. It is also possible to stay in Quebec City and ski in the nearby areas of Monte-Ste-Anne and Stoneham.
Tip 3:Several operators – including Crystal, Virgin, All Canada and Ski All America – can combine the Ice Hotel with the above resorts
Tip 4:Many operators also offer winter activities such as dog sledding, tobogganing and snowmobiling. These can be found on gazetteers.com under the special- interest category ‘winter sports/activities’.
Tip 5:Ice hotels are also listed as a special interest holiday on gazetteers.com. They can also be found in Finland and Sweden.
This week, Mystery Shopper’s cold-calling mission was to hunt down a trip to Canada to see where’s best for skiiing and other winter activities.
Gazetteers.com, from DG&G Travel Information gives you a single website that means you need never fear being mystery shopped again! Gazetteers.com 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.com provides agents with all the product knowledge you need to meet and exceed customer expectations. Log on at www.gazetteers.com.
To view more Mystery Shopper articles click here
This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.