Mystery shopper: Basingstoke, a long-haul multi-centre trip

Mystery shopper: Basingstoke, a long-haul multi-centre trip

Location: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Wanted: A couple is looking at a 10-day long-haul multi-centre-trip, maybe in southeast Asia, including a combination of a city, island and adventure-based trip.
Budget: £3,000

Toucan Travel
Chineham Shopping Centre
93%

The agent was dedicated and made good suggestions. Desks were a little untidy but the brochures and posters looked good. I was served immediately and after asking plenty of questions she suggested Mercury Holidays’ nine-day Impressions of Vietnam trip. Flights were with BA to Ho Chi Minh City via Dubai. She suggested two nights’ full-board at the Golden Central Hotel, a Mekong River cruise to Can Tho – staying a night at Ninh Kieu hotel – then three nights’ full- board at Sunway Hotel and an overnight Victory Cruise to Halong Bay for £2,800, departing May 2. The agent also suggested a four-day Cambodia add-on for an extra £369 per person.

Hays Travel
33 Wote Street
91%

A focused agent talked me through a comprehensive Vietnam trip. I was offered Emirates flights from Gatwick to Ho Chi Minh City via Dubai on May 6, three nights’ B&B at Liberty Hotel Saigon Parkview, flights to Cam Ranh and four nights at the Novotel, four nights’ B&B at the Mercure La Gare, Hanoi, and one night on a Halong Bay cruise. It was over budget at £3,430 but I was pleased with the detail, and I was sent the quote a few days later.

Thomas Cook
Old Basing Mall
81%

As I entered I was welcomed to the agent’s desk. They suggested Vietnam and found B&B accommodation and flights from Gatwick to Dubai with Emirates and on to Ho Chi Minh City with Thai Airways, departing in May. It sounded like a good tour, but I was disappointed not to receive the promised follow-up quote by email. The agent did email to say the quote was complicated and would take time, but it never arrived.


Winning agent

Ally Streeter, senior travel consultant

“I’m gobsmacked to win, thrilled to bits. It was a tight budget, and when I found it I said I was going to book it myself. I might still do!”


Verdict

All the agents plumped for Vietnam on the budget available with varying itineraries. River cruises were popular with Toucan Travel’s option through Mercury Holidays closest to the brief.


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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