The brief: A couple want to see New England during fall on a flydrive. They want to see the amazing natural sights, including the changing colours of the trees. They want to travel in the autumn, but go before it gets too cold and would like to stay for seven to 10 nights. The budget is £2,500 for  flights, car hire and hotels.

The verdict: The scores were close this week, with only a point separating the top three. The Co-operative Travel’s consultant’s extra effort secured her the top slot.

 

Thomas Cook, 23 Market Street, ManchesterThomas Cook

23 Market Street
Score:
53%

I waited for a minute or two when I entered the shop before being taken to the next available agent. The consultant took down my details and asked about the holiday, before phoning an operator to get more details. She didn’t seem to have a lot of personal knowledge about the trip, but was able to get the answers I needed on the phone.

Generally the staff were friendly and seemed interested in trying to get me a good holiday.

However, I wasn’t given a brochure or printouts of packages to take away and the consultant didn’t give me a business card. She said all the information would be held on the computer and if I wanted to book I just had to give my name and they would be able to retrieve it. This meant that when I left the shop I had trouble recalling her exact quote.

 

Miss Ellies World Travel, 72-86 Oldham Road, ManchesterMiss Ellies World Travel

72-86 Oldham Road
Score:
67%

The building was covered by scaffolding, however, the shop and the staff were very well presented so the agency still scored full marks for appearance.
 
I went to the brochure area and the consultant asked if I needed any help. She asked a lot of questions and did thorough research to come up with the right recommendation. She went on to call a supplier to get information about flights and airports.

The brochures she recommended were Travel 2 10/10 USA and Canada and Kuoni America and Canada, with quotes of £495 per head for flights and £300 for car hire, flying with Delta. As well as the brochures, she gave me her business card, writing down the prices of flights on the back. She also took my contact details.

Overall she came across as friendly and patient.

 

Trailfinders, 58 Deansgate, ManchesterTrailfinders

58 Deansgate
Score:
68%

The staff try to acknowledge you as soon as you enter and offer you somewhere to sit and wait for the next available agent. The consultant who served me first looked for flights, accommodation and car hire from the airport.

She did a lot of research and when she couldn’t find the information online or in brochures, she asked colleagues. The consultant gave me her card and a brochure and emailed me the details of the recommendation. I was also given a business card with a booking reference on it.

The quote was £1,370 through the Trailfinders USA and Canada brochure, flying with American Airlines. She tried hard to get me the best possible holiday, but she didn’t try to close the sale. The consultant was enthusiastic about my request.

 

The Co-operative Travel, 1 Corporation Street, ManchesterThe Co-operative Travel

1 Corporation Street
Score:
69%

This branch was part of a bigger, open-plan bank and shop and the whole premises looked well arranged. I only saw one consultant who asked if I needed any help as I walked towards the travel section.

This agency gained the extra point over Trailfinders for its customer service – the consultant worked hard to find the flights and hotels that would make the trip as pleasant as possible, contacting suppliers to give me choices of hotels that were either the best nearest the airport, or a hotel in the centre of town, which would be best for sightseeing.

Although she didn’t give me a brochure, she did give me the itinerary details with the flights, hotel and car hire details. The cost was £2,698 flying with American Aiarlines and Comfort Inn hotels mentioned. She put the documents in an envelope, with her name and number written on the back and gave it me.

 

Tips: Selling New England

  1. New England is at its busiest and most expensive in the autumn, when the leaves take on vibrant autumnal colours. Advise clients to book well in advance.
  2. Generally it is suited to visitors who have already been to the US and crossed off some major sights, such as those in New York.
  3. When touring New England, advise clients to experience the charm of its historic inns. They are small and intimate, but usually have something that makes them unique, such as a great restaurant or spa.
  4. As well as flydrive holidays, you can also suggest coach tours to travel between New England’s six states.
  5. For more information and agent reviews on hotels and operators to New England, visit Gazetteers.com.