The brief: A couple want to visit Sri Lanka, to tour the major sites of the Cultural Triangle and then enjoy a beach stay. They also want reassurance from the agent that political unrest is now over. Their budget is £3,000.
The verdict: Mixed results in Wetherby, but strong customer service and product knowledge won through for Travelbox.
57 Market place
I was unhappy with the service I received at this shop. I waited for 10 minutes without acknowledgement, and when I was served, the consultant didn’t show much enthusiasm.
She didn’t appear to have any knowledge of Sri Lanka or of the holiday options available. She didn’t give me any information, apart from a couple of brochures to take home. These were Thomson Worldwide and Hayes & Jarvis Worldwide. She showed me the Sri Lanka sections in the brochures.
No mention was made of budget. I asked whether it was safe to travel to Sri Lanka at the moment and the consultant simply said ‘Yes, it’s fine’.
I wouldn’t return to this branch.
I was immediately acknowledged with a friendly smile. The consultant was helpful and enthusiastic about the request and had a good working, if not personal, knowledge of Sri Lanka.
She told me Thomas Cook Signature offered tailor-made holidays, and discussed hotels and tours, but budget wasn’t mentioned.
The consultant could have asked more questions about what I wanted to do on holiday and the facilities I required. But she made me feel she wanted to book the right product for me and spent time selecting the best brochures.
I asked about any political unrest and was told that Sri Lanka had not been mentioned in Thomas Cook’s updates for a while.
2 Victoria Street
The consultant was polite and helpful and the only person during the four visits who gave any indication of price for the holiday.
I was given a guide price of £1,300 for travel with Kuoni, with tours and hotels on top. She appeared to have a little knowledge about Sri Lanka and also looked up details from a Kuoni brochure.
The consultant highlighted several tours, but nothing specific was recommended. She checked a weather chart to ensure I avoided the rainy season. The agent made me feel like a valued customer, but I would have liked more information about the tours and the destination itself.
She advised that it was safe to visit Sri Lanka.
9 Elizabeth Court
This agent was the most enthusiastic. He took his time to discuss the various options in a brochure, going through all the information in some detail.
He appeared to have a lot of product knowledge about Sri Lanka, and it was apparent that he had my best interests in mind as a customer.
I would have liked to have been given an indication of cost, even if it would have changed once the details of the trip had been agreed. However, the agent was extremely reassuring regarding visiting Sri Lanka, saying that 18 months ago there may have been some doubt, especially in the northeast area, but that the situation was now stable, although he did advise it was probably still best not to travel to the northeast region.
Overall, this was the best service of the four.
Meet this week’s winning agent
Phil MacDermid, office manager
“We’re a small, independent agency and for us, destination knowledge is key. We all recently went to an Indian Ocean evening with Kuoni.
“Part of our job is to encourage customers to travel to destinations where tourism is important to the economy.”
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