Mystery shopper: Wolverhampton, off the beaten track in the US

Mystery shopper: Wolverhampton, off the beaten track in the US

Location: Wolverhampton
Wanted: A seasoned US solo traveller is looking to discover somewhere off the
beaten track, perhaps a national park, and is seeking suggestions.
Budget: £2,500

Co-operative Travel
2d. Wulfrun Square
85%
An enthusiastic agent determined my needs, went through a few brochures and gave two quotes. The first was for Collette’s eight-night Northern National Parks tour, departing September 7 from Heathrow to Salt Lake City on Delta, and including Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Jackson Hole, Utah Olympic Park and Salt Lake City, for £3,439. The second was Travelsphere’s 12-day Parks and Canyonlands, departing Heathrow to Salt Lake City on September 15 with Delta, including Capitol Reef and Arches national parks, Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, for £2,999. The agent made me feel valued although both quotes were overbudget.

Spear Travels
5 High Street
82%
The window display was eye-catching. A friendly agent at first suggested obvious places such as New York and Vegas. After narrowing it down, I was given a quote for Leger Holidays’ Colours of New England tour, flying to Boston on September 6 for £2,598. A second quote was for Just You’s National Parks tour, at £3,999 for 17 nights, flying from Heathrow on October 3. After a slow start, the agent found options that met my needs.

Tui
63-64 Queen Street
69%
This shop was clean and tidy. I was greeted at once but had to wait to be served. The agent found it difficult to find off-the-beaten-track US holidays. Eventually, they quoted me for an eight-night Shearings trip, including Yellowstone National Park, for £3,124, departing October 5 from Heathrow on an unspecified airline. The agent was then pulled away to deal with foreign exchange, so I left feeling short of options.


Winning agent

Emma Norwood, senior sales advisor

“People usually ask for the more well-known US destinations but I like doing enquiries that are a bit different. As soon as they said off-the-beaten-track, I thought about an escorted tour in one of the national parks.”


Verdict

Budgets were stretched as agents scoured lesser-known destinations. Co-operative Travel and Spear Travels looked farther afield than Tui.


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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