Mystery shopper: A long weekend in St Petersburg

Mystery shopper: A long weekend in St Petersburg

Location: Loughton, Essex
Wanted: A couple want a long weekend in St Petersburg in May or June. They would like to stay in a historical part of the city and be given suggestions of places to visit.
Budget: £2,000

Co-operative Travel
224 High road
94%

The exterior and interior of this store were clean and tidy and I was acknowledged as soon as I entered. The agent came across as friendly, professional and patient. I was offered a four-night stay at the Oktyabrskaya Hotel in a junior suite from June 14‑18 for £1,672, flying with British Airways from Heathrow. The agent spent time tailoring the holiday to my requirements and reassured me the hotel and its location were ideal. She also provided useful information about how to obtain Russian visas. I would certainly recommend this agency, based on the excellent service received on this visit.

Classic Travel
261 High Road

86%

The agent was friendly, professional and informative, and acknowledged me as soon as I came in. I was recommended three nights’ B&B at the Ambassador Hotel in a superior room from June 13-17 with Regent Holidays, flying British Airways from Heathrow. The price was £1,952. The recommendation met the requirements perfectly, in terms of the number of days and the hotel’s location close to the historical sites. The cost was close to the top end of the budget.

Swift Travel
199a high road

80%

This shop was not easy to locate, as it was above an estate agent with only one sign above. Inside, it felt more like an office, but the agent was knowledgeable. I was given two options: three nights in May at the Kempinski Hotel, flying BA from Heathrow, for £2,212, or three nights at the Petro Palace Hotel, for £1,913. I was also advised about city tours. This agency would have scored higher had it been easier to find and had the agent offered materials to take away.


Winning agent

Gill Batemansales consultant

“I have been with The Co‑operative Travel for six years and just love selling holidays to people and finding them the right holidays.”


Verdict

Two of the agencies could have offered more than one option, but the winning agent listened to the Mystery Shopper’s requirements and worked hard to tailor the holiday, adding a real personal touch.


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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