Mystery shopper: Online, a responsible tour of the Galapagos Islands

Mystery shopper: Online, a responsible tour of the Galapagos Islands

Location: online specialists
Wanted: A couple want to go to the Galapagos Islands for up to two weeks, but want to travel responsibly and in the most eco-friendly way possible.
Budget: £12,000

Kuoni
expert.kuoni.co.uk

87%
The agent was pleasant and enthusiastic and had been to the destination. Following our phone call the agent sent detailed information the next day, as promised. She first quoted £17,900, which I queried, but was told it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was sent details for an 11-night trip from May 15 costing £13,624 flying to Guayaquil via Amsterdam with KLM. This was a three-night stay in the Hilton Colon, a six-night cruise and a one-night post-stay at the Hilton. We talked about excursions, the cloud forest, Quito, Guayaquil and the guides’ eco-friendly focus. The itinerary looked nice and was personalised, with good pictures and an overview.

Trailfinders
trailfinders.com

69%
The agent brought the area to life with excellent knowledge and detailed questions, but didn’t send a follow-up email. I was offered a Trailfinders option with Metropolitan Touring and flights with KLM. We discussed a two-night pre-cruise in Quito followed by a five-night cruise, a stay in Guayaquil and a trip on the Devil’s Nose Train in Riobamba. Despite the confident initial interactions. I did not receive a follow-up call or email.

Miles Morgan
milesmorgantravel.co.uk

60%
The assistant was sincere and patient, but didn’t have much knowledge and seemed to be reading from a brochure. A Cox & Kings brochure was posted, but not emailed as requested. No details of the cruise part of the trip were given. I was quoted £8,000 for return BA flights in April to Quito via Bogota and on to Galapagos for a four-night cruise before returning to Quito. The tour length and other accommodation wasn’t mentioned.


Winning agent

Sharon Frame, personal travel expert

“I am really excited to have won, It’s one of my favourite destinations and I am blessed to have been able to visit it. I am really proud to work for Kuoni and be able to offer this destination to our customers.”


Verdict

The winning agent used her personal experience and knowledge of the destination to create a detailed and thorough itinerary, although it was over the given budget.


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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