Mystery Shopper: A couple’s holiday exploring the south of France

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Location: Carlisle, Cumbria
Wanted: A couple is looking to spend two weeks in the south of France in September or October and would like to explore the area.
Budget: £3,000.

Dawson & Sanderson, Lowther Street

While it took about four minutes to be seen by an agent, he was friendly, enthusiastic and patient, and nothing seemed like too much trouble. He recommended a 14-night trip with Jet2holidays, staying at Citadines Croisette Cannes.

The price was £1,570 including flights plus £206 for car hire. After he printed the quotes, the agent told me I could ring him at any time. I was happy with what he offered, although it was quite far under our budget and no excursions were mentioned. I would definitely recommend this agency although I would have liked the agent to have looked at travelling via ferry, which I did mention to him.

Thomas Cook, English Street

The agent was friendly but seemed a bit agitated that I didn’t know exactly which areas of France I wanted to travel to. I was quoted £1,484 for a stay at Des Oranges in Cannes and the Burlington at Folkestone, before getting the ferry.

Booking the ferry was not mentioned. The agent could not print the hotel suggestions for me but said if I wanted to come back she would be willing to help me with my holiday plans.

Thomson, Scotch Street

I was greeted within about two minutes. When I said where I wanted to go the agent said Thomson “doesn’t do France” and was a little dismissive. They did ask when I wanted to travel but did not ask for any of my details.

I was handed a SuperBreak brochure but was not offered anything else such as quotes, packages or any other brochures. Despite this the staff were neatly presented and the brochure displays looked great.

Winning agent: Ben Davidson, trainee travel consultant

I have been with Dawson & Sanderson since last October and this is my first job since leaving college. I love it and hope I have a long career in travel ahead of me. Every day is different and I am enjoying learning.”


While the first two agents came up with reasonable quotes – albeit below budget – I was surprised that Thomson was unable to help.

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