Mystery shopper: a week in Las Vegas for friends

Wanted: Two friends want to visit Las Vegas for the first time for a week in October. They would like to fly from London if possible.
Budget: £4,000

Andrew Earles Holidays
81 Ferensway

The knowledge and experience of the agent was immediately apparent. She was exceedingly enthusiastic and spent a while searching for the best fares on London flights. The agent, who had visited Las Vegas twice, gave two recommendations, featuring hotels she had stayed at. One option, priced £2,320, was for a week at the Vdara Hotel, staying in a suite and flying from Gatwick. I was given contact details and told that the air fares might not be available for long. I was given advice about excursions and tours to the Grand Canyon. The agent’s enthusiasm was infectious. The shop had some flood damage, for which she apologised.

Dawson & Sanderson
20 Paragon Street

The agent came up with good recommendations but did not demonstrate much knowledge of the destination, or really build up a rapport with me. I was given two options: one was a £2,465 trip with USAirtours, staying at Excalibur Hotel Las Vegas, but I was not given any information about the hotel or shown a brochure. I was also quoted £282 per person for the Grand Canyon Heli Ranch Adventure tour, which I requested.

Thomas Cook
38/40 Paragon Street

I had to wait almost five minutes before an agent was available. Despite my request for London flights, the agent insisted on quoting for a package from Manchester, saying it was hundreds of pounds cheaper. The two recommendations included a seven-night trip with Thomas Cook Holidays, staying at the Vdara Hotel for £1,946. The agent showed good knowledge of Las Vegas but I was not asked about excursions.

Winning agent – Emily Barnes, senior travel adviser

I have worked in travel since leaving school so it is something I am very passionate about. I joined Andrew Earles 10 years ago and couldn’t imagine working anywhere else as we have so much freedom in what we can offer clients. What I love about my job is being able to offer people memories that will last a lifetime – to me, that’s priceless.


While all of the agents could have done more to maximise the budget, the winner’s enthusiasm and knowledge was a class apart from the other agents surveyed this week.

Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win the 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.

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