Location: Kendal, Cumbria
Wanted: A honeymoon couple are looking for a week or two in a hotel
on a less-frequented Caribbean island.
Budget: £4,000-£5,000

Gates Travel
9 Library Road
The shop was well laid out, with informative window displays. The brochure racks were excellent but mostly featured expensive operators. An agent was on the phone but gestured for to me to take a seat, then greeted me when she was free. She said certain islands were pricier, told me a week would be enough on a quiet island and recommended going all-inclusive. I was given two quotes based on Jetset flights from Gatwick: £3,737 for the Kalinago Beach Resort in Grenada and £4,430 for the Coco Reef Resort & Spa in Tobago. The agent was warm, helpful and knowledgeable. She gave me her undivided attention, but I would have liked to have had a view of her screen.

5A Highgate
This store didn’t entice me in, and the brochure displays weren’t great. When an agent eventually greeted me, they were chewing gum. They insisted on emailing me quotes after my visit: £4,201 to Antigua (which is fairly mainstream) and £4,797 to Mauritius (which isn’t in the Caribbean). Two days later, I was sent quotes for Sandals Grenada (£6,974) and for a property in Druif Beach, Aruba (£7,516). The agent missed the brief.

Thomas Cook
49-51 Stricklandgate
There was nowhere to sit and wait. I was served by an agent who then passed me on to another. The second agent was friendly, but was new and out of their depth, and didn’t receive any support from colleagues. The agent called Kuoni and I was given a quote for £11,400 – way over my budget. I took the Kuoni brochure and found some suitable options. I was then quoted £4,430 for a week in St Kitts and £5,166 for Aruba.

Winning agent

Dawn Cottam, senior sales consultant

“I’ve been in travel for over 25 years, both in the UK and Australia. I love the fact that every day is different and the job is so diverse.”


Gates Travel offered two good quotes and showed good destination knowledge, while the multiples struggled on price and knowledge.

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