Location: Chester, Cheshire
Wanted: A couple are looking for a holiday of at least a week in Japan.
Budget: £5,000

Flight Centre
48 Bridge Street
89%

The window displays were attractive and the store clear of clutter. All the agents were smartly dressed and I was greeted immediately. The friendly consultant asked about specific dates, and sites I’d like to visit, and suggested that May was a good time to go. He was knowledgeable and helpful, and prompt in responding to my inquiry as I went shopping.

I was given two quotes for the same Buffalo Tours nine-night itinerary taking in Tokyo, Mount Fuji and Kyoto. The first, with Cathay Pacific flights from Manchester on May 10, was for £4,467 and the second was priced £4,997, with Emirates flights on April 20. Quotes, itineraries and maps were promptly emailed.

Virgin Holidays
Debenhams, 34-40 Eastgate Row
80%

The concession was clean and presentable. Displays were minimal. The agent was with another customer, but helped me when they became free. They did a thorough search to find the best price and I was offered a seven-night Virgin Holidays trip on its Highlights of Japan itinerary with Emirates flights from Manchester, for £4,669 departing March 16, or £5,658 departing March 31. The agent was enthusiastic and the only one who offered a quote on the spot.

Kuoni
8 Eastgate Street
74%

The store was clean and presentable and stood out from other agencies; it looked appealing. I was greeted by an agent and offered a brochure. But they didn’t want to help until I knew my exact itinerary, which I found dismissive, and gave me a business card. I later emailed with exact dates and was quoted £6,508 for a nine-night trip on Kuoni’s Konnichiwa Japan tour and £5,205 for a nine-night trip from Tokyo to Osaka on the bullet train, with flights from Manchester, via Heathrow.

Winning agent

paulMark Schippers, team leader
Japan has become more popular in the last couple of years. We always try and call our customers when they get back. By doing that I’ve learnt about all the things you can see and do.

Verdict

Service at both Flight Centre and Virgin Holidays was top-notch, but Flight Centre’s agent got more out of the budget. Kuoni’s agent insisted on exact dates, which the customer found dismissive.


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