Mystery Shopper: Travel agents in Hamilton, Lanarkshire

Mystery Shopper: Travel agents in Hamilton, Lanarkshire

Location: Hamilton, Lanarkshire
Shopping for: A mid-price summer holiday to Turkey for a couple, with nightlife and water sports

The agencies

Holiday and Flight Centre
38 Quarry St, Hamilton

Score: 31%

The window was covered in A3 posters displaying deals, which made it difficult to focus on any one. Inside, the agency was clean and tidy, but I felt it lacked atmosphere.

I was only able to give a basic outline of what I wanted and was not asked for further details. The agent asked if I had looked on the shop’s website. When I said I hadn’t, I was told there were too many possibilities and I should look online as they did not have brochures.

I asked for accommodation recommendations and was given the details of four hotels and prices on the back of a business card.

I was advised to call back in person or telephone to book or make further enquiries. I felt rushed and was disappointed with the information provided.


First Choice, 89 Quarry St, HamiltonFirst Choice
89 Quarry St, Hamilton

Score: 95%

The consultant at this well-presented agency asked me lots of questions about my destination choice and budget before offering me holiday brochures that featured the recommended accommodation.

She asked about travel insurance and gave me her hand-written business card and then wrote down my contact details. The consultant then searched on the computer system and quoted me prices for two all-inclusive holiday options and one self-catering break, including 14 nights at Hotel Marti La Perla in Icmeler on an all-inclusive basis, departing from Glasgow and costing £2,000 per person.

The agent encouraged me to call back soon.


Going Places, 55 Quarry St, HamiltonGoing Places
55 Quarry St, Hamilton

Score:96%

The travel consultants in this agency were busy, but after a couple of minutes I was invited to take a seat.

The friendly and knowledgeable consultant seemed genuinely interested in helping me, asking lots of questions about my budget, the type of accommodation I was after, entertainment preferences and travel insurance.

The agent offered me some options and encouraged me to book soon, as discounts were only offered for a limited period. I was offered 14 nights at the Pineta Park Hotel in Marmaris on an all-inclusive basis or a stay at the Garden of Sun Hotel in Altinkum.

The agent didn’t offer me any prices but gave me her business card and brochures.


The winner

Thomson, 35 Quarry St, HamiltonThomson
35 Quarry St, Hamilton

Score: 99%

The service at this agency was exemplary. I could not find fault with the appearance of the shop, the service or product knowledge.

The agent asked lots of questions, and made notes as I explained what I was looking for. She offered me a cup of tea and a biscuit. The agent looked at a number of options, taking input from colleagues. She showed me photos and a video of a hotel on the computer and handed me a brochure.

The agent made a real effort to sell me insurance. I was given details of car parking and airport lounges were discussed. I was given the planner with all the details of destination, price, dates and times. The quotes were 14 nights at Hotel Grand Pasa on an all-inclusive basis with flights for £1,855.

We agreed a date and time the agent would call to follow up.


Generally, agents in Hamilton were knowledgeable and helpful.

Thomson got a near perfect score, impressing Mystery Shopper on all counts.

Going Places and First Choice gave a thorough and professional consultation.

However, Mystery Shopper felt the consultant was dismissive of her at the Holiday and Flight Centre.


Selling tips

Tip 1: Turkey is not in the eurozone, therefore the destination offers good value for money and is likely to be popular this year, so advise clients to book early.

Tip 2: Side or Marmaris offer good beaches and nightlife, but in high summer the beaches can get busy. Water sports on offer include waterskiing, banana boats and paragliding.

Tip 3:Bodrum is great for couples seeking nightlife, with lots of restaurants on the waterfront and in the narrow streets. For water sports, recommend clients take the bus to nearby Bitez, which has a bigger beach and more water sports facilities. Bitez also offers excellent nightlife options.

Tip 4: Thomas Cook’s Adult Escapes brochure, which contains holidays specifically designed for adults, would have met Mystery Shopper’s requirements this week. It features several resort hotels, including all-inclusive holiday options, as well as gulet cruises and coach tours.

Tip 5: For a thorough rundown of resorts and hotels in Turkey visit gazetteers.com. The site features photos of resorts and hotel reviews from fellow travel agents.

Mystery Shopper prizes

Elite Island ResortsEach month’s highest scoring travel agent gets the chance to drive a Porsche Boxster S courtesy of Elite Island Resorts. More at www.travelweekly.co.uk/elite

Mystery Shopper scoring system

  • 60% Advice and product knowledge
  • 12% Customer service
  • 8% External/internal appearance
  • 7% Welcome
  • 7% Farewell
  • 6% Staff presentation


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