Mystery shopper: Ipswich, A large family holiday in Europe

Mystery shopper: Ipswich, A large family holiday in Europe

Location: Ipswich
Wanted: A large family group want a week somewhere in Europe at the same villa or hotel. Two couples, five kids and granny are going, and it needs to be accessible.
Budget: £12,000

31 Tower Ramparts

The eye-catching shop was spotless with neatly displayed brochures. I was greeted right away and the agent offered a week half-board at Avenida Studios in Salou, Spain, with flights from Gatwick to Reus on July 24. I was quoted £8,411 plus £59.92 for car parking and £163.04 for insurance. For £20 a day, I could upgrade to all-inclusive. They asked open questions to make sure it fitted our needs, although they could have given more detail on kids’ clubs, excursions and entertainment. They pushed the budget, but advised they could find something cheaper. It was a relaxing experience and she did try to close the sale. It ticked all the boxes for a family holiday.

Idelo Travel
4 St Nicholas Street

The agent asked relevant questions and offered a good range of options, all for a week self-catering. Villa Carolina, with flights from Stansted to Alicante on July 21 was £7,125, and car hire £695. There were three villas in the Algarve: Vivenda Dois Pinheiros (£7,355), Vivenda Carrasquinho (£10,355) and Villa Oceania (£11,035), with flights from Gatwick to Faro on July 21. Car hire was £869. The agent didn’t try to close the sale.

Thomas Cook
36 Tavern Street

Mystery shopper was told they could be seen without an appointment if they were ‘quick’. The agent offered a Thomas Cook holiday to Barcelo Cabo de Gata, flying from Gatwick to Almeria on July 28 for £6,757. The conversation felt rushed, but everything requested was offered and attention to granny’s special assistance paid. The agent did well to provide a suitable holiday in a short space of time, despite the negative first impression.

Winning agent

Tracy Campbell, travel advisor

“I always try to listen to exactly what the customer wants to get them the perfect holiday. It’s important to build a rapport too, and try to get to know them.”


All three agents did well and provided a suitable holiday but the Tui agent’s friendliness won out, just pipping the range of options from Idelo, which also scored very well.

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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