Location: Ashton under Lyne, Lancashire
Shopping for: Two week, self catering holiday to Turkey in school holidays. Want nice beaches and restaurants in walking distance.
Unit 2, The Arcades, Warrington Street
I was immediately greeted and sat down with the consultant, who asked lots of questions. I began to receive negative comments regarding the country, saying that Turkey was mainly old ruins and she didn’t know whether it was quite suitable for families.
This didn’t make me feel excited about the holiday. She searched some areas, but was often reading information from the computer screen and asking a colleague. I spent over an hour in the shop and had prices for various holidays, but felt that the agent almost put too much time in as I came away a little confused.
Quotes included Sunset Village at Altinkum in the Airtours brochure for £2,179.
34 Warrington Street
I noticed this shop had quite a few regular customers who were on first name terms with staff. They tried to keep customer waiting to a minimum and offered them a drink.
The agent came from her seat to offer me help. I was asked relevant questions, but not type of board, so the agent immediately started to look at all-inclusive packages.
After I explained I preferred self catering, she started again and came across as fairly knowledgeable. However, there were awkward silences while she was searching and she did not build a rapport. The price quoted was £2,010 for Tuntas Apartments in Altinkum but the flight times were not conducive to travelling with children.
49a Warrington Street
I immediately noticed how well trained and confident the consultant was. She described the holidays with such enthusiasm that I felt excited. She informed me of the areas to avoid with smaller children and tried to find better flight times to accommodate them.
Quotes included the Private Hotel at Icmeler in the Manos brochure for £1,824. She continued to chat with me while searching on the computer.
I really enjoyed this visit. Although I spent the shortest amount of time in this shop, it felt very comfortable due to the friendly consultant. I obtained a quote for the holiday which really suited my needs at a low cost.
32 Staveleigh Mall
The consultant acknowledged me immediately with a friendly smile. She asked all the right questions, including the ages of my children. She continued to enthusiastically describe the holidays while searching the computer.
She also gave me lots of useful information regarding a tax payable at the airport and currency, and tours I could book through the shop. She quoted £1,939 for a stay in Pinewood at Icmeler in the Thomson brochure, explaining what a good deal it is because of a free child offer.
The consultant asked about budget and what quotes I had received previously, explaining their price beater policy. I took away printed quotes with all the relevant information marked out and pages photocopied from the brochure. I felt I could book everything I needed in this shop with great confidence.
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Tip 1: The benefits of self catering is that families (particularly ones with children) can eat at a time convenient to them. It also gives the children a chance to sample local cuisine.
Tip 2: As Turkey is a non-Euro destination it is very popular at the moment, due to the weak pound against the Euro. Budget conscious families will also benefit from more operators offering increased flexibility, and not having to stay for a traditional 14-night holiday.
Tip 3: Just because a family is booking a self-catering holiday, it doesn’t mean they can’t budget for meals in advance. Operators such as Turkey villa specialist Artemis Travel offer dine-around options on their complexes, where families can buy restaurant meals before travelling.
Tip 4: If agents are looking to dynamically package a holiday, flight-only operator Avro now starts a Wednesday flight from Gatwick to Antalya from May 27.
Tip 5: To get more product knowledge about Turkey visit Gazetteers.com. The site also contains photos of resorts and hotel reviews from fellow travel agents.
Mystery Shopper prizes
Each 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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