Mystery Shopper: Chesterfield, an all-inclusive holiday in Mexico

Location: Chesterfield
Wanted: A middle-aged couple would like a relaxing all-inclusive holiday in Mexico. They heard Cancun and the Mexican Riviera have good options for all-inclusive hotels and resorts but want to avoid the influx of American students who travel to Cancun on the traditional annual ‘spring break’. They want a week or so in 2020 and are flexible about travel dates and want to find out about flights, airlines and hotel options.
Budget: £4,000 in total.


All three agents produced quotes that matched the scenario. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the Wallace Arnold agent stood out, while the Tui agent produced options swiftly. However, the shopper felt they wanted far more information from Martins World Travel. All quotes were well below budget so there was plenty of scope for up-selling and extras.

Winning agent

Julie Kealey, travel consultant

“I had a holiday in Mexico two years ago and it is so much easier to sell a holiday if you have experience. We don’t get many inquiries for Mexico but we do get a lot for all-inclusives in the Caribbean. Most customers go for all-inclusive holidays as they are good value.”

Wallace Arnold Travel
43 Knifesmithgate

Impression: The shop has a small frontage, under a covered walkway, so it would be easy to walk by without noticing. Staff were smartly dressed. The window display had a summer theme and A4 posters showing holidays and prices.

Service: I was served immediately by a friendly agent, who said they had visited Mexico two years ago. They showed me the resort where they had stayed, recommending it as an option. They explained most hotels belong to mini resorts with partner hotels so you can use the joint facilities. Flight upgrades were mentioned but not the cost. I was pleased with the agent’s knowledge and the quality of the resorts suggested. The agent said we’d have a fantastic holiday and explained that getting around was easy and safe with many public transport options. The experience was fantastic.

Quotes: Both quotes were for seven-night, all-inclusive Thomas Cook holidays, flying from Manchester in May, 2020. The first was at Iberostar Selection Cancun, for a total of £2,857 which included transfers. The agent recommended this resort because of its facilities. The second was at the Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa, in the Riviera Maya, for £3,025. It was recommended because of its spa options.

Overall: The agent was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, making me feel confident in booking.

23 Market Place

Impression: The store was well maintained and staff wore uniforms, but more could have been done to promote offers.

Service: An agent spoke to me straightaway and explained what the resorts offered, but only repeating the information on the screen. The agent knew how to search quickly and produced the quotes within a short period of time. These were shown on screen and we looked at several options before allowing me to narrow them down.The agent offered to price-match any online quotes I might find. The agent was distracted by the volume of a video shown at another agent’s desk and asked for it to be lowered. They were slightly flustered when the system was slow and the printer didn’t work immediately. No extras or upgrades were mentioned.

Quotes: Both quotes were for seven-night, all-inclusive Tui holidays in May, 2020, flying from Manchester. The first was staying in a junior suite at Ocean Riviera Paradise, Riviera Maya, for £2,542. It was recommended because it was a Tui Platinum hotel. The second was a junior suite at Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun, Riviera Maya, for a total of £2,846. The agent said this adult-focused resort had excellent customer reviews.

Overall: The agent produced good quotes at a price that was considerably lower than I had expected.

Martins World Travel
46 Knifesmithgate

Impression: The shop front was clean and tidy, with last-minute holidays and special offers in the window. The staff were smart but not in a uniform.

Service: A smiling agent greeted me as I walked in, and told me about several options. However, the screen was always facing them and I never saw the options myself. This meant I was reliant upon their recommendations. The agent knew about Mexico and how the hotels were more like resorts – but as I had not been able to view them directly, I had no idea of how modern the rooms and facilities are. I was given handwritten quotes on pieces of paper torn from a notepad.

Quotes: Both quotes were for seven-night, all-inclusive Tui holidays in May, 2020, flying from Manchester. The first was at the Sensatori Resort Riviera Cancun, in a luxury suite with a pool view, for £2,701, including coach transfers. The second was at Riu Cancun, for £2,400, which was recommended because of its location. As I could not see any images myself, I had to rely on the agent’s recommendations.

Overall: The agent was friendly but as I could not see what the hotels looked like, I would have had to do more research myself afterwards.


The top-scoring agent each week bags a £25 Amazon voucher, courtesy of Oasis Hotels & Resorts.

Oasis Hotels & Resorts offers five all-inclusive beachfront properties and two city-centre properties in Cancun, Mexico. They are:

Hotel Zone, Cancun
Grand Oasis Cancun; The Pyramid; Oasis Palm; Grand Oasis Palm; and brand new Grand Sens Cancun.

Downtown Cancun
Oh! The Urban Oasis; and Smart Cancun by Oasis. Oasis offers family-friendly resorts and adult-only experiences, as well as wedding and honeymoon packages.

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