Mystery shopper: A city break in New York

Location: Halifax, West Yorkshire
Wanted: Three friends are looking for a low-cost, three-night city break to New York in September.
Budget: £3,500

3 Corn Market

I was acknowledged as soon as I walked in. The agent was patient and worked hard to find the hotel within my budget that best suited my needs. I was recommended a £2,318 holiday with Hayes & Jarvis, staying at the Westin New York Grand Central. The hotel was in the middle of the attractions that I said I wanted to see. The agent did some research and also asked a colleague who had been to the US for tips. I was quoted for insurance and offered a bigger room, and the agent told me about some excursions that I could book before travelling. She said she would call me in a few days, after I had spoken tomy friends. I was impressed with the agent and would have booked.

Thomas Cook
11-13 Corn Market

This agent was eager to assist, and greeted me straight away. She made a note of my requirements before starting her search, and came back with three recommendations. The cheapest was a £2,547 trip with Thomas Cook, staying at the Wellington Hotel. The consultant had good knowledge of the hotel and showed me images on her computer. I felt she could have told me more about excursions.

Pure Travel
8 Russell Street

It was about five minutes before I was acknowledged, as the agent was busy with another customer. The consultant was friendly, but could have smiled more and tried to build up a rapport. I was recommended a £2,173 holiday with Gold Medal, staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square. This was a good option, but the agent did not ask many questions and did not offer upgrades or excursions.

Winning agent – Tarina Hartley, assistant retail manager

“I have worked for Thomson for my whole eight-year career, and I’ve been at this branch for two. I love providing different options for customers, making sure they’re not going to miss anything when they get to their destination.”


All three agents came up with good options within budget, but the winner did lots of research to ensure she made the best recommendation.

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. Winners 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.

Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return from Essex or a central location.

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