Mystery shopper: Shrewsbury, seven nights in South Africa

Mystery shopper: Shrewsbury, seven nights in South Africa

Location: Shrewsbury
Wanted: A couple are looking for a seven-night holiday in South Africa in May. They want to stay in the wine regions for two or three nights and the rest of the trip in Cape Town.
Budget: £5,500

Polka Dot Travel
41 Castle Street

82%
The shop had a nice atmosphere, with eye-catching displays. An agent discussed several operators with me and recommended a 10-night Travel 2 itinerary, which was longer than my request. It started with four nights in Cape Town at the Southern Sun Cape, with three city excursions, followed by two nights at the Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, including a day’s vehicle hire, ending with two nights each at the Harbour House Hermanus Hotel and Bay Hotel. The price was £4,234, including B&B accommodation, BA flights to Cape Town on May 2, and airport transfers. The agent had been to Cape Town, so was full of ideas. She emailed me a quote.

Peakes Travel Elite
11 Mardol

77%
I was greeted immediately by a member of the impeccably dressed staff. After discussing Premier Holidays and Kuoni, I was recommended an Africa & Beyond tour comprising four nights’ B&B at Winchester Mansions in Cape Town and three nights’ B&B at Maison Chablis Guest House in Franschhoek. The price was £3,115, including BA flights from Heathrow on May 3. The agent was knowledgeable but not very forthcoming.

Worldchoice Travel
21 Shoplatch

73%
This shop was tidy and I was greeted within a minute. The agent gave me Travel 2 and Kuoni brochures, but did not discuss hotels. I was quoted a provisional price of £899 per person based on B&B accommodation and return BA flights from Heathrow. I was promised a full quote would follow and this was duly sent to me. I felt there was a gap in the agent’s knowledge and that they could have been more enthusiastic.


Winning agent

Joanne Whennell, Travel Consultant

“It’s amazing to win. I’m thrilled! I love Cape Town, so I was giving all sorts of hints and tips. It’s easier to sell a destination if you’ve been, and I’ve been twice. It’s got everything – even penguins.”


Verdict

All three agencies did well. This week’s winner showed great enthusiasm and knowledge but lost marks for offering a longer trip than requested and not doing more to try to close the sale.


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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