The brief: A family are looking for a late-booking villa holiday in Turkey. They want a peaceful location, ideally with two bedrooms and a pool, and to go for one week in the school holidays. Their budget is £4,000.

The verdict: This was a very generous budget for a burgeoning sector, but agents displayed a weak knowledge of suppliers offering this type of break.

McNeill & Thriftway Worldwide Travel, 421 Lisburn Road, BelfastMcNeill & Thriftway Worldwide Travel

421 Lisburn Road

I rang a buzzer to enter and a consultant immediately greeted me and offered to help. She asked various questions about my budget and about which resort and type of holiday I wanted.

The consultant made a note of the basic requirements, but didn’t ask about more specific requests. The consultant said she would ring various suppliers to get prices and she took my contact details. She did not smile at any point.

I was disappointed to leave without a quote and with no firm idea of possible accommodation. Although there were no other customers in the shop and I would have waited to get a quote, I was not given this option.

I felt this consultant was not very interested in pursuing the enquiry or in clinching a booking from me.

Laffin Travel, 9 North Street, BelfastLaffin Travel

9 North Street

This agency was well presented on the outside but a bit cluttered inside. The agent tried a number of operators but said it would be difficult to find a villa in Turkey because it was peak season.

Instead, she suggested a one-bedroom apartment in a quiet location. She had good product knowledge, knew about various resorts and apologised that she couldn’t find something closer to my requirements.

I was given a quick costing of £2,200 from the Airtours Summersun brochure, but the quote didn’t include a hotel name.

This consultant scored highly for her efforts but lost marks for failing to find a holiday that matched the request.

Thomas Cook, 10 Donegal Square West, BelfastThomas Cook

10 Donegal Square West

The consultant couldn’t initially find villas in her brochure, so phoned a colleague and discovered that they were in an updated version. During the call she chatted about a night out and appeared to be chewing gum.

However, when she was off the phone she did create a nice rapport. The agent was friendly, made eye contact, and told me that she loved Turkey and that it is a popular destination this year as it is outside the eurozone.

I was quoted £3,024 to stay at Villa Rosa in Dalyan with Thomas Cook Style Villas. The agent worked well to close the sale, offering to call me to follow up and saying there were only a few villas left.

Knock Travel, 251-253 Upper Newtownards Road, BelfastKnock Travel

251-253 Upper Newtownards Road

This consultant knew the tour operators that would feature Turkey and knew the flight times without checking her computer. She explained that it could be hard to book villas as previous customers often repeat-booked immediately.

The agent made sure her recommendation was in a quiet location, but mentioned other benefits such as car hire and water parks nearby. She did not go through the facilities in the villa but gave me a brochure instead.

The quote was £1,970 through Hoseasons’ Villas and Apartments with Pools 2010 brochure. Flights were an extra £780.

The consultant was very friendly and appeared to be trying hard to find me the right holiday. She also quoted comments from previous customers who had visited the resorts she had recommended.

Carly Stoneman, travel consultant, Knock TravelThis week’s winning agent

Carly Stoneman, travel consultant, Knock Travel

“Turkey is one of our top sellers. Villas usually book up in advance so I phoned to check availability and offered what I thought was best suited for a family holiday. This result has come at a great time as I’m leaving soon to have my first baby.”

Tips: Selling Turkey


  1. Turkey’s value for money has ensured repeat visitors. They now know the destination better and are more confident booking a villa or self-catering option.
  2. A cost-effective and popular self-catering option is booking a villa or apartment on a complex that has shared pools and facilities.
  3. Many operators offer flexible durations, enabling you to save clients money by taking advantage of different flight options.
  4. Operators selling villa holidays in Turkey include Hoseasons, Thomas Cook Villas With Style, Artemis Travel, Interhome, Ilios Travel and Exclusive Escapes. 
  5. For more information on villa holidays to Turkey, visit