Mystery shopper: Swansea, all-inclusive in the South of France

Mystery shopper: Swansea, all-inclusive in the South of France

Location: Swansea
Wanted: A couple want an all-inclusive holiday in the South of France for a week, near a town, beach or resort. They’d also like information on vineyards, historical sites and car hire.
Budget: £4,000

Thomas Cook
258 Oxford Street
90%
The agency was clean and well laid out with clear displays. A friendly and cheerful agent welcomed me straight away. She could not find an all-inclusive holiday but suggested the Aston La Scala hotel in Nice on a half-board basis, flying with easyJet from Bristol. The cost was £2,263 and I was given a few car hire options I could add, including for £119 from Nice airport. The hotel looked well worth its four star status and although it was well under budget it was the closest I got to all-inclusive from any agency. Airport parking, transfers and insurance were discussed. The agent had excellent knowledge and put effort into finding me a suitable holiday.

The Travel House
26 Park Street
65%
The shop was pleasant but in need of a spruce-up. Employees’ dress ranged from simple to leopard skin. A helpful agent suggested Hotel Nice Riviera, flying with easyJet, at £2,399 in total for two adults for a week. Despite having said my budget was higher, the agent seemed intent on bringing the price down and said only B&B was available. I was asked the basics, but nothing more and given the holiday details on paper.

Thomson
1 St Mary’s Arcade, The Quadrant
50%
This agency looked good but was very busy, so it was 15 minutes before I was served. I was offered a Thomson holiday, flying from Bristol with easyJet, and staying at the Hotel Nice Riviera. The search was based on price rather than facilities and I was quoted £2,399. No brochure was given as the hotel wasn’t featured in brochures the agency had. Car hire was discussed and I was given the details on paper but no business card.


Winning agent

Rachel Hughes, travel consultant

“It’s important to pay attention to detail and stay positive. I always try to get customers exactly what they want, so although there was no all-inclusive, half-board was available. I’m chuffed to win.”


Verdict

All the agencies struggled to find an all-inclusive option, with none suggesting the likes of Club Med. But Thomas Cook came closest, and did most to add value.


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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