Mystery shopper: Halifax, SeaWorld Orlando at Easter

Mystery shopper: Halifax, SeaWorld Orlando at Easter

Location: Halifax
Wanted: A family of four want to see wild animals in action – and are thinking of going to SeaWorld in Orlando for a week around Easter. What does the agent recommend?
Budget: £2,500

Pure Travel 
12 Westgate Arcade
84%
This shop was nestled in an attractive row of shops with lots of window offers. It had a wide selection of brochures and was tidy and well-presented inside. As soon as I walked in an agent offered me a seat. She looked at Thomas Cook but got quotes of around £4,000 so played around with different options, including indirect flights. I was given two Gold Medal quotes, both departing April 17 for seven nights with Virgin Atlantic flights from Manchester. The first was with accommodation at Satisfaction Orlando Resort in Kissimmee room-only for £1,997 all in. The second was £2,034 for the Days Inn by Wyndham at the Orlando Convention Centre, room-only. The agent read me TripAdvisor ratings of the hotels. The enthusiastic and friendly agent didn’t take my details but encouraged me to book as soon as possible. Park tickets and transfers were extra but it still came in under budget.

Althams Travel
7 Russell Street
78%
The agency appeared to offer a wide range of holidays based on the offers in the window and brochure selection. Staff were smart, and in uniform. Straight away, a friendly, smiling agent asked if they could help. They gave me a choice of hotels in Orlando and suggested indirect flights for a better deal. They mentioned the bad press SeaWorld had received, and offered me two quotes with Gold Medal for seven-night trips departing April 15. Days Inn Hotel by Wyndham was £2,590 and Satisfaction Orlando Resort £2,551. Park tickets were mentioned but not quoted.

Hays Travel
8 Woolshops Shopping Centre
68%
This shop was clean, modern and uncluttered. Windows were bare but it had a good range of brochures. Four staff were sat at desks and a professional and polite agent looked up at me to help. They asked basic questions and mentioned indirect flights. The agent was knowledgeable as they’d been to SeaWorld last year. But the seven-night quotes were overbudget. The first, flying April 16 with Tui and staying at the Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista Hotel, was £4,299 with a discount but included park tickets. A Thomas Cook option at the same hotel was also offered, departing April 14, for £4,799 with tickets.


Winning agent

Caron Lewandowski, travel executive

“Florida is always really popular, especially the theme parks. For people on a budget, it’s worth looking if you can bag them a deal with indirect flights. Not many people ask about the SeaWorld stories you read in the press.”


Verdict

The quotes offered by Pure Travel offered the best deal for the mystery shopper and although all agents were friendly and professional, Pure Travel’s seemed to go the extra mile

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