Location: Manchester
Wanted: A couple want to go to China for 10-14 days and want an agent’s advice on the best tour, where to go and what they can see for their budget.
Budget: £5,000

Trailfinders
58 Deansgate
83%

The store front was clean, with Trailfinders magazines within the walls for bypassers to pick up. Staff were dressed smartly and I was approached within seconds by a polite, cheerful and smiley agent but the China specialist was not available for 10 minutes. When I spoke to the specialist, they were knowledgeable.

We discussed options and visas then I was quoted for an eight-night escorted tour through Trailfinders Private Touring, with Air France flights from Manchester in April. It was £3,876 and included the Forbidden City, Terracotta Army and panda viewing. The agent was very focused and explained the trip well and was friendly. They made the itinerary sound very appealing.

Kuoni
64-66 King Street
79%

The store, in a fashionable street, was absent of clutter and had enticing window offers. Staff wore their own clothes, but were smart. I waited 10 minutes with a coffee as two agents were busy.

I was helped by a third later. They offered Kuoni’s 11-night Essential China tour, flying Cathay Pacific from Manchester in April, for £7,334, and the 14-night Highlights of China tour at £8,944. The agent made me feel valued, but the quotes were over budget.

Flight Centre
10 St Mary’s Gate
78%

This shop was spacious and airy with neatly-arranged seats. The window display was neat and uncluttered. Staff acknowledged me with a smile, within a minute. I was quoted for a 14-night trip with Swiss flights from Manchester in February and Buffalo Tours’ China Encompassed itinerary taking in the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Xian, and Chengdu. I enjoyed the interaction with the agent, who covered all bases, but the quote was over budget at £6,676.

Winning agent

charles-lovelockCharles Lovelock, senior destination specialist

China continues to grow in popularity. Our made-to-measure approach and the variety of touring options in China ensures client get to see everything on their list at the budget they have.

Verdict

Customer service at all three agencies was very good, and the staff were knowledgeable. Tailor-made specialist Trailfinders won out on price.

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