Mystery shopper: Leicester, a self-drive New England tour

Mystery shopper: Leicester, a self-drive New England tour

Location: Leicester
Wanted: A couple would like to go on a self-drive tour of New England in April or May for up to 14 nights. They want to start in Boston and explore the White Mountains and maybe Cape Cod.
Budget: £5,000

Millington Travel
2 Halford Street
88%
The agent was friendly and helpful and I felt they wanted to provide the best holiday they could. During my visit she was unable to find a suitable trip but sent a follow-up email with a comprehensive itinerary. She suggested a 13-day trip flying from Heathrow to Boston on May 9 with Delta and car hire with insurance and satnav. Three nights in Boston at the Midtown Hotel would be followed by one night each in Portland, Maine and Bar Harbor, two nights in the White Mountains, a night in the Green Mountains, one in Springfield, one in Newport, one in Yarmouth, Cape Cod, and finally in Boston. The £3,520 cost was well within my budget and took account of all my requests.

Kuoni Travel
2 Bath House Lane
74%
The location, which was inside John Lewis, was very inviting. The agent did not offer contact details but took mine and sent details of a holiday by email. I was offered a 14-night trip flying with British Airways from Heathrow to Boston on May 28. The tailor-made tour started in Boston and visited eight towns including Jackson, Woodstock, Newport, and Chatham. It was over budget at £6,000, but I was told this was because full 2018 prices were not yet available.

Thomas Cook
105 Highcross Shopping Centre
17%
The shop was clean inside and out and I was greeted almost immediately. The agent was friendly, but did not seem interested and simply said they could not help. They did not explore alternatives or ask where I wanted to visit. When hinting that I had seen something online by Thomas Cook this was dismissed. No contact information was taken or given and I was quickly given the impression that I should leave. I was told I could look at a brochure but no brochure was given.


Winning agent

Natalie Garton, senior travel agent

“I am so pleased to have won. I love to travel and after working as an agent for nine years I love speaking to customers every day about their holidays and how we can help them.”


Verdict

Although the agents could not fulfil the briefs while in store, two followed up with detailed tailor-made itineraries.


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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