Mystery shopper: Watford, a surprise 40th birthday holiday

Mystery shopper: Watford, a surprise 40th birthday holiday

Location: Watford
Wanted: A wife wants to book her parther a holiday in April or May for their 40th birthday. They have the Caribbean in mind but are open to suggestions, and want to organise a surprise.
Budget: £4,000-£5,000

Tui Holiday Store
St Albans Road
90%
The agent was friendly and the shop clean and modern, with an inviting brochure display. It took 10 minutes for me to be approached, but I was offered two weeks all-inclusive in a luxury junior suite with a whirlpool at Royalton St Lucia for £4,232, departing May 8, and two all-inclusive Mauritius options – all on Tui Airways. Two weeks at Emeraude Beach Attitude, leaving May 6, was £3,872 and it was £3,976 to stay at the Tui Sensimar Lagoon Mauritius. Excursions and premium airline seats were extra. A more expensive option was The Verandah Resort & Spa in Antigua for £4,822 flying Virgin Atlantic on April 4. She took her time, talked me through destinations and gave me brochures.

Beaver Travel
301 Watling Street
84%
The shop was very modern and the agent pleasant. But I felt a rushed. Twelve nights in Mexico at the Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa was £4,795. I was also offered eight nights in Saint Lucia at Rendezvous for £5,195 and two weeks at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for £5,096, all were direct BA flights from Gatwick. I had to push for experiences, but they were then offered. Follow up information was very detailed.

Langley Travel
34 High Street
72%
The shop looked inviting and the agent was friendly and welcomed me immediately. The agent gave me brochures in the shop and followed up via email to offer 12 nights’ all-inclusive at the Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic for £4,259 departing on April 12, and St James’s Club, Antigua, for 12 nights at “a similar price”. I said the budget could be stretched, but no further communication was received.


Winning agent

Alison Ian, assistant manager

“It’s all about what the customer wants to do on holiday, so if they come in with the Caribbean in mind they might actually be better suited to somewhere like Mauritius for their holiday of a lifetime.”


Verdict

The agents all found suitable holidays but did little in terms of the special surprise, with just a few seemingly standard excursions offered. They were however forthcoming with alternative destination suggestions.


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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