The brief: A couple are looking for a trip to South Africa, based in Cape Town. They want to do lots of activities around the area. They would like to go for 10 days later this year.

The budget: £3,500.

The Co-operative Travel, 33 Jackson Street, GatesheadThe Co-operative Travel

33 Jackson Street

After waiting a couple of minutes while staff dealt with other customers, a consultant came into the shop carrying cups of tea and coffee. She put the cups down and acknowledged me.

She was friendly, smiled and made eye contact. However, in terms of advice, she only gave me flight details, which cost £1,532 with KLM. She gave me Virgin Holidays, The Co-operative Travel and Superbreak Cities brochures, but didn’t explain the options regarding accommodation and hotels.

She warned me against taking unaccompanied tours around Cape Town, saying organised tours were safer. The information was basic and only covered part of the holiday.

First Choice Holiday Hypermarket, Team Valley Retail Park, GatesheadFirst Choice Holiday Hypermarket

Team Valley Retail Park

After outlining my request the consultant said they didn’t have the information available. She said she would contact me later if I left my enquiry with her and that it would probably take up to five hours.

I asked about costs and then she looked into flights, hotels and tours. The quote was £2,709, staying at Holiday Inn Express and flying with Emirates. She suggested the following tours: Table Mountain, the winelands, Freedom Walk, Cape Point and a day’s safari, costing £758 in total.

The consultant phoned a supplier for 20 minutes, during which time she didn’t speak to me. She didn’t appear to have much knowledge about South Africa. After asking, I was given a handwritten memo form with the costs on it, I had to write down the details of the tours.

Hays Travel, 43 Jackson Street, GatesheadHays Travel

43 Jackson Street

The consultant was friendly and showed a genuine interest in my enquiry. She used the experiences of others who had visited Cape Town to explain the products available and bring the potential holiday to life.

She quoted £1,523 for flights with Emirates and £299 for the Protea Hotel Sea Point through Gold Medal. In terms of excursions, she suggested booking these either nearer the departure point or while on holiday. She gave me a list of some of the tours available.

Overall, I would have liked more discussion about the excursions available. However, the prices were extremely competitive.

Dawson and Sanderson, 20 Jackson Street, GatesheadDawson and Sanderson

20 Jackson Street

The consultant was very friendly and chatty and described each part of the holiday throughout the consultation. When she phoned operators to get information, she continued to explain what was happening so I didn’t feel like I was being kept waiting.

She didn’t have any brochures that fitted the bill, so looked up the flight and hotel and outlined the tours that could be booked. She found flights with KLM, staying at Fountains Hotel, for £3,194 plus another £258 for the tours, which were a wine tour, peninsular tour and city tour.

I would have no hesitation going back to this shop and this agent as she spent time and effort making sure I got what I wanted. The only negative aspect was that the price was not as competitive as one of the other agents.

Winning agent

Julie Turnball, senior sales consultant

“I haven’t been to South Africa, but after working as an agent for 17 years, I knew where to look. I checked the Premier Holidays brochure, and looked for accommodation on the Kuoni website, but in the end I used our internal accommodation-only site.”

Tips: Selling South Africa

  1. Recommend clients take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, take a boat trip over to Robben Island and shop at the V&A Waterfront.
  2. The pretty winelands surrounding Cape Town make an ideal day trip. Book clients on a tour to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, where they can see the vineyards and taste the vintages.
  3. The waters to the East of Cape Town aren’t called the Whale Coast for nothing. On a whale-watching cruise clients can see humpbacks and southern right whales between August and November.
  4. Up your commission by suggesting clients take a short flight to Durban and add a couple of days on safari in KwaZulu-Natal.
  5. For more details on hotels and holidays in Cape Town and South Africa, visit