Mystery shopper: Coventry, an all-inclusive week in Egypt in spring

Location: Coventry
Wanted: Four friends in their 40s would like to go for an all-inclusive week in Egypt in spring. They have visited Sharm el Sheikh in the past, so are interested now travel restrictions have been lifted – but are open to other Red Sea destinations or similar resorts. They just want to relax in the sunshine, with the option of snorkelling or trying some water sports.
Budget: £6,000


All three agents scored well, with the Millington Travel agent taking top spot thanks to the effort and positivity she demonstrated – along with offering more choice by researching Hurghada. The shopper was pleased with the value for money. The Business Traveller & The Leisure Traveller did very well to match the original budget but Carrick Travel seemed more focused on getting a cheaper deal, even though the budget was generous.

Winning agent

Kerry Brassington, sales consultant

“I’ve not been to Egypt but we do get a lot of recommendations from customers. As Sharm had been off sale for a long time, there was more choice in Hurghada, which has really taken off. I’ve been in travel more than 20 years and worked at Thomas Cook until June last year when I moved to Millington Travel.”


Millington Travel
2-4 Market Way

Impression: The window and brochure displays were tidy, and staff looked smart. There was a beautiful large world map on the back wall.

Service: A member of staff smiled as I arrived and I was dealt with immediately. The agent asked lots of questions and was very knowledgeable, without having to refer to brochures or the computer. As well as Sharm, the agent quoted for Hurghada as they said it had more options offering better value. The agent offered to search further to tailor-make a holiday for me.

Quotes: Both were week-long all-inclusive Tui holidays, flying from Birmingham. The first departed in April and featured Reef Oasis Blue Bay Resort and Spa in Sharm for £4,462. The second was in March, staying at Premier Le Reve in Hurghada for £4,804. It featured extras such as a bottle of wine in the rooms and spa treatments. I was encouraged to book as soon as possible as such deals don’t last long. I was very impressed, especially as the second quote offered more for my money than I would have imagined.

Overall: The agent was excellent – very proactive and positive. The second holiday was perfect and looked amazing. They made a wonderful effort to fully understand my needs.

The Business Traveller & The Leisure Traveller
211 Station Road

Impression: The premises were not on ground level so I was somewhat unsure as I entered the doorway to walk upstairs. However, the agency was welcoming, with eye-catching brochure displays and posters and smart staff.

Service: I was greeted and served immediately. The agent was very professional and their colleague helped out with information about accommodation. I was given a business card and printouts of the quotes, but I was not offered any follow-up and my details were not taken.

Quotes: Both were for seven-day all-inclusive holidays in Sharm el Sheikh with Red Sea Holidays, flying from Birmingham with Tui Airways in April. The first was staying at the adult-only Baron Palms Resort, in Sharks Bay, for £6,155 with private transfers. The second was at Rixos Sharm el Sheikh Hotel in Nabq Bay, for £5,787, or £5,913 with private transfers. The quotes were perfect for my scenario.

Overall: I was very happy with the service I received and particularly liked the Rixos Sharm el Sheikh Hotel. The agent was friendly, enthusiastic and professional as they made a big effort to provide me with a quote for the right hotels and the perfect holiday.

Carrick Travel
161 Daventry Road

Impression: The window posters were eye-catching, brochure displays were tidy and well stocked, and staff were wearing smart uniforms.

Service: I was greeted and served straightaway by attentive staff. I was asked questions about where we’d like to go and our budget, but I would have like to have been asked more questions to fully understand my needs. The agent consulted a colleague about accommodation they had visited in Sharm. I received a business card but not offered any follow-up contact.

Quote: Both were week-long all-inclusive holidays in April with Tui, flying from Birmingham to Sharm el Sheikh. The first was at Tui Magic Life Sharm el Sheikh, for £2,972. The other agent had visited this hotel and so I thought it would be good. The second was Jaz Mirabel Beach for £3,238. The agent said it was a five-star hotel with everything that I needed and they reminded how much below my budget the holidays were. They also offered the option of the Iberotel Palace for £3,605.

Overall: The focus of the staff member was to get me the cheapest five-star holiday available rather than the luxury holiday I was looking for. There were no additional extras offered at any point.

MoreFCO lifts flight ban to Sharm el-Sheikh


The top-scoring agent each week bags a £25 Amazon voucher, courtesy of Casa de Campo Resorts & Villas.

As a member of Leading Hotels of the World, Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, in the Dominican Republic, is the most unique destination in the Caribbean.

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• Unlimited horseback riding
• Clay pigeon shooting included
• 13 Har-Tru tennis courts
• Unlimited non-motorised watersports
• Six exclusive dining venues plus two gourmet food trucks
• Extensive heath and fitness club, and a spa
• Dominican Republic’s only private, white-sand beach
• Personal golf buggy to explore the extensive grounds

With all this and much more on offer, Casa de Campo Resort and Villas is the ultimate Caribbean adventure.

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