Mystery shopper: Darlington, a one-week fly-and-flop summer holiday

Mystery shopper: Darlington, a one-week fly-and-flop summer holiday

Location: Darlington
Wanted: A family of four want a one-week fly-and-flop summer holiday in Europe. They are after guaranteed sun and would like a few excursions.
Budget: £3,000

Thomas Cook
6 Prospect Place
94%
Bright whitewashed walls made the shop look fresh – I felt as if I was already on holiday. I was offered a seat in less than a minute. We ran through different countries and resorts, with the agent talking about hotels she’d been to. I was given two quotes for all-inclusive Cook packages, including Thomas Cook Airlines flights from Newcastle. The first was for a one-bed apartment at the Sun Connect Los Delfines Hotel, in Menorca, for £2,894. The second was for £3,155 at Cook’s own-brand Sunwing Cala Bona Beach, in Majorca. The agent asked about inflight meals, insurance, car hire and excursions, but these weren’t included in the quote.

Tui
8 Prospect Place
88%
The shop was bright inside. I was soon served by an agent who asked about previous holidays to determine my preferences, then showed me lots of options on screen. I was given two quotes for Menorca: self-catering at the Mestral and Llebeig Apartments, for £2,476 with Tui; and all-inclusive at the Smartline Marina, for £3,000 with Thomas Cook. A list of excursions was stapled to the quote, but the agent didn’t follow up.

Hays Travel
40 High Row
82%
The shop was uncluttered and the brochure racks were well stocked. An agent soon made eye contact and sat me down. We discussed a range of resorts and I was given two quotes for the last week in July: an all-inclusive holiday at Majorca’s Aparthotel Ferrera Blanca, costing £3,090 with Jet2holidays; and a week’s all-inclusive at the Smartline Marina, for £2,998 with Thomas Cook. No additional products were offered.


Winning agent

Olivia Dodsworth, travel consultant

“I followed the process we have and made sure I mentioned everything to enhance their experience. I try to be smiley and enthusiastic, and love helping customers find their holiday.”


Verdict

All of the agents performed well, with each making the most of the budget. All of the shops were clean and well presented. But overall, the Cook agent was the most thorough.


Elite resorts caribbean

Top-scoring agent each month will win use of a car 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 the car from Essex or a central location

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