Location: Liverpool
Wanted: Three couples are looking for a week near a lake in Europe, outside of the school holidays. They’ve got Italy in mind, but would like a more affordable suggestion.
Budget: £700-£900 per person

Thomas Cook
75 Church Street
The window display wasn’t dynamic, and the brochure displays, although comprehensive, were towards the back of the narrow store, which felt a little tired. The agent was friendly and welcoming, but the first thing she did was ask me to fill in an enquiry form with my holiday requirements. Nothing was too much trouble. She talked me through the Inghams brochure, and several destinations. We settled on Slovenia, and I was given two quotes for seven nights at the four-star Hotel Kompas by Lake Bled, with flights from Manchester: £758 per person in June and £638 in September. I was offered excursions, without prompting, including Venice for £69 and the Julian Alps for £37.

97 Lord Street
The shop seemed well looked after. I was greeted at once by an agent, but it was a brief meeting, as the agent didn’t ask questions. I was offered two choices in each of Italy, Switzerland and Austria, in early June. The accommodation ranged from half-board to all-inclusive, with prices from £705 per person to £879. I was told I would get an email later in the day, but had to pop back to remind them. I felt the agent could have spent more time with me and offered excursions.

10 Peter’s Lane
I was offered a drink and given a business card. It was an attractive shop, and the agent was friendly and helpful, but the one quote was way overbudget. A week’s B&B in a balcony room at the Grand Hotel Gardone in Lake Garda, with Jet2 flights from Manchester to Verona and private transfers was more than £1,400 per person in September. As it was overbudget, the agent suggested the deal of the week – and almost convinced me to book a week in Mauritius.

Winning agent

Chloe Metcalfe, apprentice travel consultant

“Customers like us to use the brochure as a prop. There’s more detail than you get on screen and it gives them a good idea of what they’ll get on the holiday.”


Tui beat Kuoni on price and options, but it was the other way around when it came to customer service. Thomas Cook did well on both fronts, and for that reason, scooped top spot despite the dated decor.

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