Wanted: A couple in their 30s fancy about a week in Las Vegas. They would like to know how easy it is to get around to see the sights and also want to book a couple of experiences, such as a helicopter tour and to see a show. They’re flexible about dates as they’re not tied to school holidays but want advice on the best time to visit so the weather is not too hot and there will be shows they would enjoy.
The Barrhead Travel agent was able to use her experience of Las Vegas to recommend the best hotels and flights for the budget, and talk about options for trips and shows. The shopper was also impressed with the friendly, helpful service and options from Tui. The service in Home and Away Holidays was disappointing, although they did produce quotes for hotels and excursions.
Sarah Cook, manager, Barrhead Travel
“I had been to Las Vegas as I used to work for Virgin Holidays before joining Barrhead almost two years ago. I knew which hotels to recommend, and we went through options for the Grand Canyon and shows such as Cirque du Soleil. We also talked about extra leg room on the flights.”
Highcross Centre, 20 Saint Peters Lane
Impression: The shop enticed customers with a clean, white interior with touches of red. The window and brochure displays were well presented, and the agent was in uniform.
Service: I was acknowledged straightaway and waited for about three minutes. The agent asked lots of open questions and showed a genuine interest in the holiday. She knew the resort well and had visited several hotels and made lots of suggestions about accommodation, helicopter sightseeing trips and the Cirque du Soleil show. I mentioned my partner had a mobility issue and she knew which hotels were accessible. I had her full attention for most of the time but she did stop the consultation to answer the phone which was disappointing.
Quotes: She quoted for a seven-night holiday, with three different hotel options and economy flights with Virgin Atlantic in October from Heathrow. The Luxor Hotel would cost, £2,445, Treasure Island would be £2,417 and Mirage would be £2,594. They also priced up the holidays for flights in Economy Delight, which would have extra legroom, making the Luxor package £2,706, Treasure Island £2,791 and Mirage £2,850.
Overall: The agent was extremely enthusiastic and, through her descriptions, brought the trip to life. She was very helpful and friendly.
Tui Holiday Store
14 Humberstone Gate
Impression: It was small but tidy with good window and brochure displays, and smart employees.
Service: As I arrived, a friendly agent offered me a seat and asked how they could help. The agent asked some open questions and had some knowledge of the resort and the hotels. They tried hard to match my needs to the hotels and offered lots of options on flights. They said they would like to work on prices and later emailed details to me. It was emphasised how the bookings would be Atol protected. The atmosphere in store was pleasant and the other staff were enthusiastic and friendly too.
Quotes: Both were week-long holidays with Tui, flying from Gatwick and staying on a room-only basis in Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas. The first was in June, for £2,135. The second was in October and would be £2,713. The agent said I could pay for extra leg room on the flights after booking the trip. They recommended the first and said the price and the weather were better.
Overall: The process of obtaining a quote and finding a holiday suited to my needs was very straightforward. The agent was professional, enthusiastic and gave me their full attention, but didn’t offer excursions in the destination.
Home and Away Holidays
52 Hartington Road
Impression: The shop did not entice me to enter. Employees were presentable but there was a poor window display and the signage had letters missing or misaligned.
Service: I was acknowledged, but not with a smile, and waited less than a minute to be dealt with. The agent was not particularly friendly and didn’t show much enthusiasm, ask many questions, build a rapport or try to close the sale. They seemed to have little knowledge of Las Vegas so did not make many suggestions about the resorts. I didn’t receive a business card but did get a handwritten note on a slip of paper that had the company name, and an email afterwards.
Quotes: Both dynamically-packaged holidays were flying with United Airlines in May, from Heathrow to Montreal and then onto Vegas, and returning via Washington DC. The first one would be staying in Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino on a room-only basis for £1,870. The second one was staying at Tropicana Hotel, with breakfast, for £2,500. They also quoted for a helicopter flight, which would be an additional £130 for two adults.
Overall: I was disappointed by the service and the standard of the holidays seemed basic. The quotes were around the budget and included a helicopter flight, but the flights were indirect and they didn’t describe the hotels they had quoted.
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.
This five-star luxury resort spans more than 7,000 acres, so come and discover a different level of all-inclusive:
• 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.