Wanted: A couple in their 20s would like to book a short break in Dublin. They would like to know about flight times and hotel accommodation options, as well as recommendations about sightseeing and activities. They want to travel in spring 2020 but are flexible about the exact dates. They would like two or three nights away, and a hotel in or near the city centre so they can walk to the main attractions.
All three agents produced suitable holiday options within budget. Hays Travel and Thomas Cook both scored well thanks to their customer service and quotations, with the Hays agent just coming out ahead thanks to her knowledge and tips about attractions in Dublin. However, the clutter and seemingly out-of-date computer meant the Star Travel agency scored rather less.
Jessica Pettersen, Assistant manager, Hays Travel, Crewe
“We take pride in giving that wow factor customer service with every customer! We go above and beyond to find their perfect holiday whilst being friendly, bubbly and bringing that holiday to life.”
Jessica spoke on behalf of the agent who supplied the quote as they have since left.
60a Market Street
Impression: The shop front was well maintained with the window display advertising a summer sale, although there were some empty racks on the brochure display inside. Staff were in uniform and looked professional.
Service: The agents were busy with customers, so I waited about seven minutes before one was free. The agent apologised for the wait and gave me her undivided attention. She was enthusiastic, friendly, and spent a considerable amount of time finding the right hotels and flights to suit my requirements. She had excellent knowledge about Dublin and the city centre hotels, and offered several options which matched my needs. There was an IT glitch which meant she had to write the quote by hand but she did follow up afterwards with details on email, and rang to check I had everything I needed.
Quotes: Both quotes were for March, 2020, flying from Manchester with Ryanair. The first would be a three-night break at the Temple Bar Inn on a room-only basis for £563. A two-night break would be £435. The second was a three-night break, staying on a room-only basis at the Ashling Hotel, for £581.
Overall: I was very impressed by the friendly, attentive customer service and the agent’s knowledge about Dublin and attractions to visit.
64 Market Street
Impression: The shop was tidy with staff in uniform, and brochure displays were fully stocked. The window displayed Hot Deals and Magical Disney offers, and a poster about a special travel money deal which offered free Gourmet Society membership.
Service: I was promptly approached by a member of staff who greeted me with a smile in a friendly, professional manner. I was asked lots of open questions but I did have to prompt for recommendations of places to see, and was advised to visit the Guinness factory. The agent mentioned that a customer had previously visited Dublin and had said it was expensive. Travel insurance was mentioned but I wasn’t given a quote. The agent also talked about Ryanair’s baggage policy.
Quotes: They were both for three-night breaks, flying from Manchester in March, 2020, with Ryanair. The first would be a double room at The Fleet Hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis for £394. The second was at the three-star Mercantile Hotel on a room-only basis for £431. The agent said both hotels were in the city centre.
Overall: I was impressed by the customer service and the details of the holidays, which matched my needs, although somewhat below budget.
106 Nantwich Road
Impression: The shop was well maintained with a good selection of holidays on the displays. Staff were not in a uniform.
Service: I was greeted with a smile and spoke to an agent immediately. I was asked lots of open questions but had to prompt for ideas about attractions. I was given handwritten quotes on a compliment slip. Again, I had to prompt the agent to show me the interior of the hotels, and the computer seemed outdated and small, so it wasn’t easy to see images. The store seemed rather cluttered with brochures piled on the floor and paperwork stacked at the back of the desk.
Quotes: Both holidays were three-night breaks flying from Manchester in March, 2020, with Aer Lingus. The first would be staying at Jury’s Inn Christchurch on a room-only basis for £492 in total. The agent recommended this because of the hotel’s central location. The second would be staying at the Clarence hotel for £606. The agent said this was a luxury hotel near the city centre.
Overall: The agent was friendly and the quotes were suitable but I felt as if I was stepping back in time because of the old computers and clutter on the desk behind the agent.
The top-scoring agent each week bags a £25 Amazon voucher, courtesy of Oasis Hotels & Resorts.
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