Location: Reading
Wanted: A couple would like to go on an escorted tour of India in October for between 10 and 14 nights, visiting Delhi and Jaipur.
Budget: £8,000

Kuoni, John Lewis,
Broad Street, 88%

I was greeted with a friendly “hello” as soon as I walked into this store. The agent initiated a relaxed conversation, to establish my needs. She suggested either a group tour or one that provided a personal driver. She said I could get quite a lot for my budget and that she could look into creating a bespoke holiday. We exchanged details and the agent said she would call after sending the quote through.

This agent listened and asked questions that I wouldn’t have considered, such as whether to fly business class or to incorporate a beach stay. One of the recommendations was a tour with a beach extension, for £6,058, which was closest to my budget.

Flight Centre,
27 Queen Victoria Street, 72%

I was acknowledged immediately by an enthusiastic agent. He suggested I integrate a wildlife experience into my trip, as well as culture and history.

Other staff in the agency offered ideas. But the agent didn’t ascertain my budget at the outset; when I told him the figure, he changed his suggestion. I was recommended a holiday with On the Go Tours for £3,340, which was well off the budget.

STA Travel
150 Friar Street, 66%

I was greeted warmly as soon as I entered the agency. The agent was friendly and chatty, and gave me some good basic information but I wasn’t asked about my budget.

When I explained it was a trip of a lifetime, the agent said I needed to be passed to the bespoke team, who would email me quotes. STA later sent through a flight pricing of £980, plus an itinerary but no overall cost.

Rachel HewsonWinning agent – Rachel Hewson, personal travel expert

I have worked for Kuoni for almost three years and this is my first job in travel.

I love every aspect of putting an itinerary together for customers. I get excited with them and discuss my own experiences to enhance their holiday.


All of the agents took the time to establish Mystery Shopper’s needs, but more could have been done to maximise the budget.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a Mercedes SLK for 10 days.

The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Any agent who is under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent.

The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. The winners will be informed by Travel Weekly.