Travel Weekly’s Mystery Shopper calls on travel agents across the UK each week to check presentation, attitude and service.
Travel Weekly’s Mystery Shopper in association with Gazetteers.com.
|THE TARGET ?||WANTED ?|
|Bexleyheath, Kent||A motorhome touring holiday to New Zealand|
Internal/external appearance (25%)
Please note, no additional information will be given about Mystery Shopper’s visits.
76 The Mall, Broadway Centre, Bexleyheath
This agency had the most inviting window display; it was bright, eye-catching and professional. On entering the agency there was a busy feel about it with three smart and professional consultants serving. I waited by the racks until a consultant became available, and explained to her what I was looking for. She went to the stock room to see if she could find any brochures. She returned and said they didn’t have any in stock and that I should call back in a couple of weeks. I left disappointed with no information to help me with my enquiry.
8 Pickford Lane, Bexleyheath
The window was well presented with a range of cards. There were two staff; one was busy with a display and the other was on a computer. They asked how they could help, I explained my requirements and was offered a seat. She went on the computer and went through flights and routes we could use. I got the impression she did not have that much first-hand knowledge.
After giving me some ideas the consultant tried to access her viewdata system to obtain prices. Unfortunately this was not working, so she apologised. I left with a couple of brochures – Virgin Australia and New Zealand and Thomas Cook Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.
90a High Street, Bexleyheath
The agency was well presented and looked inviting. I entered and noticed it looked tidy and the staff were in smart uniforms. I was asked if I needed any help and I explained what I was looking for. The consultant looked on her computer for flight information and gave me an idea of price with a couple of airlines as well as explaining the stopovers we could make. She also explained the air tax to me.
I was given details on weather and climate and the best time of year to travel.We looked at the Virgin Australia and New Zealand brochure, which gave some extra information on the area we wanted to visit. This was the only brochure she had available so she took my details and said she would call me when she received more brochures. The information I received was good, although I got the impression the consultant had not booked many holidays of this type, so her knowledge was a little limited.
113 Broadway, Bexleyheath
Although this agency looked plain, it was well lit and looked inviting. I was given a warm welcome, and when I explained about the type of holiday I was looking for I was offered a seat and a coffee. The consultant asked me lots of questions before checking brochures.
She showed me the Thomson tailor-made Australia and New Zealand brochure, which gave a description of the motorhomes we could choose, before going through the prices and insurance options. I was also told about the different places where I could park the motorhome for the night, as well as suggested routes. We also discussed flights and stopovers I could make along the way.
All the information I received was given to me in a professional and efficient way and nothing was too much trouble for the consultant. I left the agency feeling that I had been given good information and advice.
|TOP FIVE TIPS|
Tip 1:This is perfect dynamic-packaging territory, so don’t just rely on operators with motorhomes for rent. Book the flights through any New Zealand operator and then log on to Thlnz.co.nz to book a range of motorhomes online.
Tip 2:New Zealand has two islands (North and South) so establish where clients wants to go before booking flights. Suggest a minimum of three weeks to see the best of both islands. Ferry crossings between the two are cheap and regular.
Tip 3:Motorhome companies offer open-jaw rental, meaning they can pick their van up in one location and drop it off in another.
Tip 4:The main motorhome providers in New Zealand are Maui (Maui-rentals.com) and Britz (Britz.com). Both have a range of vans on offer. Both companies will update their fleet this year with more home comforts including satnav and DVD players.
Tip 5:Other operators offering motorhome rentals include Gold Medal and Qantas Holidays.
This week’s enquiry was for details on a motorhome holiday in New Zealand. Mystery Shopper was looking for some idea of prices and what was available. Some agents did better than others and although some of them did not have first-hand knowledge of New Zealand they knew where to find some and were able to offer good advice.
A couple of the agents did not have a stock of brochures that would help with the enquiry and so could not offer much information. Three of the shops were let down by staff who showed a lack of interest and product knowledge. The consultant at Davis World Travel saved the day with a great all-round showing.
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.comprovides agents with all the product knowledge you need to meet and exceed customer expectations. Log on at Gazetteers.com.
To view more Mystery Shopper articles click here