The brief: A family with two active teenagers is seeking an adventurous holiday in Europe, possibly including cycling, kayaking, walking or boat trips. The budget
is £4,000 for a week.

The verdict: A strong set of results in Dorset. Thomson bosses will be pleased to see the agent recommended fellow Tui-owned The Adventure Company.

 

The Co-operative Travel, 65 St Mary Street, WeymouthThe Co-operative Travel

65 St Mary Street
Score:
51%

This agent appeared more interested in selling me a package holiday to a hotel with a kids’ club than an adventure holiday. The kids’ clubs also appeared to be aimed at families with children younger than mine. The budget was not discussed.

Unlike the other shops visited, this agency didn’t have any specific adventure-break brochures and the consultant offered me few options.

The agent was very enthusiastic but she failed to keep me informed about what was happening while she searched on the computer.

I was given a quote of £1,938 for a self-catering holiday in Turkey through Airtours Summer Sun.

The staff looked good in company T-shirts, but those in jeans were less smart. The airy shop gave customers privacy during consultations.

Overall, the service was off target.

 

Bath Travel, 68 St Mary Street, WeymouthBath Travel

68 St Mary Street
Score:
77%

The consultant at Bath Travel was very helpful and friendly. She seemed interested in meeting my exact requirements, rather than just closing the sale. She didn’t appear to have much knowledge of the type of holiday I was looking for, but knew where to find the information.

The quote was under budget and I was given a choice of two options. The quote was £849 per person for an Exodus Austrian Adventure tour. The branch had only one copy of the brochure, but the consultant photocopied the relevant pages.

She also advised that specific insurance might be needed to cover some activities. She took my contact details and gave me her business card.

The atmosphere in the store was friendly and professional. Compared with the other shops visited, Bath Travel had the most personal touch.

 

Thomas Cook, 94 St Mary Street, WeymouthThomas Cook

94 St Mary Street
Score:
84%

All staff were busy with customers, but I was acknowledged shortly after entering. The consultant covered every aspect of the holiday.

I was quoted £4,093 for a stay at Club Teos with Neilson, in Turkey.

Although this was slightly over budget, the holiday included more meals than some other options, as well as separate rooms for adults and teenagers. The itinerary was flexible, with facilities at the property available as and when required.

The consultant told me the amount needed for the deposit and asked about insurance. She also suggested booking a UK hotel as the return flight would arrive quite late.

The shop layout felt impersonal as the desks were so close to each other that customers had little privacy.

Overall, this agent was friendly, helpful and offered good suggestions.

 

Thomson, 29 St Thomas Street, WeymouthThomson

29 St Thomas Street
Score:
89%

This consultant was very friendly, helpful and enthusiastic, if a little stern at times.

She understood my request well, choosing a trip to Croatia with the exact type of adventure I required. The quote was £3,596 for an Adriatic Adventure holiday through The Adventure Company. The cost came in under budget, although it included fewer meals than some other options and separate rooms weren’t available.

The consultant didn’t appear to know the details of the trip, but knew exactly where to look and found the right brochure. When she phoned the operator, she kept me informed of everything that was being said.

I was impressed that she recom­mended specific dates for the trip, informing me that other families with teenagers had already booked for the trip. This agent tried hardest to close the sale, reserving places on the trip but not flights. A very good service.

 

Tips: Selling adventure trips

  1. Make sure you check the minimum age allowed on the adventure trip, so that the activities are appropriate for your customers’ children. Also, check the customer has travel insurance and that it will cover the more extreme activities that they may wish to participate in.
  2. Look out for special teen-only departures or activity itineraries that are tailored for teens so that they are with kids of a similar age. Turkey, Croatia and Bulgaria offer a good choice of multi-activity options, both on land and on water.
  3. The countries are also outside the eurozone which may be good if the euro is strong against the pound.
  4. Adventure trips can be great options for single parents as they can provide a really sociable holiday experience. And note that some adventure options are available in and around cities, as well as in rural and coastal resorts.
  5. Log on to Gazetteers.com for more information on activity holidays in Europe.