Brief: A family of four want to go to Limassol, Cyprus over February half-term, flying direct from Leeds if possible.
Budget: £1,500, but could go higher if it is all-inclusive.
Verdict: A friendly approach, thorough research and clear advice put Flight Centre ahead.
The Co-operative Travel
81 Albion Street
This was not a good experience. I waited for a few minutes browsing the half empty brochure racks before an agent offered help. She was not friendly, enthusiastic or passionate and I felt she didn’t want to be there.
I couldn’t tell if she was knowledgeable or not, because she didn’t tell me anything. After searching her system she gave me a printout offering a week all-inclusive at the Hotel Golden Arches in Limassol through The Co-operative for £1,662.
Flights were with easyJet from Manchester to Paphos. She didn’t go through any details or tell me anything about the package; she didn’t even smile. I felt undervalued and would not recommend this agency.
99-103 Albion Street
This was a very busy agency and staff seemed rushed off their feet. Nevertheless, the agent who helped me had a wealth of knowledge and searched thoroughly on her system to find the best option.
She warned me I might not get what I wanted within my budget in the school holidays. She found packages to the Atlantica Oasis with Thomas Cook for £2,312 and the Poseidonia Beach Hotel with Cosmos from £2,235.
I got the impression that the staff were pressured to make sales rather than deal with enquiries. I felt I was a valued customer up until I said I would go away and think about it, then she rushed to give me printouts and her card, and get on to the next customer.
Unit 6 Crown Point Retail Park
The agent was friendly, enthusiastic and patient, with lots of eye contact and smiles, but seemed inexperienced and had to ask colleagues for help more than once.
However, after taking down details about what I wanted – including what three things were most important to me – the agent checked thoroughly to find the best holiday for my family.
I was offered the Kanika Pantheon Hotel for £2,104 with Olympic Holidays, flying from Manchester to Larnaca, and was told I would receive a £188 discount if I booked there and then. I was given a printout and the agent’s details to take with me, but I would have liked a brochure as well so we could see the hotel.
76 Albion Street
The store was clean, presentable and exciting, and I was immediately greeted and asked: “How are you? How can I help?”
The agent was very friendly and professional and asked all the right questions. There was a great deal of information given when recommending the best hotels, and there was no confusing jargon.
He explained that they could only offer me flights to Cyprus from Leeds Bradford from April onwards, but found me an option for my travel dates through Olympic Holidays flying from Manchester and staying in the Arsinoe Beach Hotel in Limassol on an all-inclusive basis for £1,642.
The agent explained the hotel had lots of facilities and was yards from the beach, and said availability was limited. I was given the details and a number for the agent, with an offer to help with any other enquiries.
Winning agent: Tom Newell, assistant manager
“After university I went travelling and decided to get into the industry when I returned. I’ve been to Cyprus before, which definitely gave me confidence with the enquiry.”
Tips: Selling Limassol
- Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus, and its main port. There’s a quaint old town and a medieval castle to explore, and there are plenty of tavernas, bars and clubs for the evening.
- Limassol is a 45-minute taxi ride from Larnaca airport and an hour from Paphos airport; slightly more by coach.
- Good family accommodation includes the three-star Arsinoe Beach, the three-star plus Atlantic Hotel Oasis, the four-star St Raphael Resort Hotel and the five-star Le Meridien Limassol.
- Limassol is the centre of the Cypriot wine industry, and just a short drive out of the city are many pretty villages set in fields of vines, where welcoming wine shop owners encourage visitors to taste local vintages.
- See this week’s Limassol feature for more on the city, or subscribe to Gazetteers.com
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