Wanted: A young couple want to tour New Zealand for 14 nights between March and April, visit the major cities and take part in thrill-seeking activities.
12 East Street
The agent greeted us immediately and asked lots of questions about what we wanted out of the trip. She covered everything from our choice of airlines, board basis and places we wanted to visit. She had good knowledge of the destination and mentioned places and activities that we might enjoy. If these weren’t included in the tour, she went out of her way to include them. We were offered the 14-day New Zealand Marvel tour flying from Gatwick for £7,629 or a 15-day Southern Wonders & North Island extension, flying from Gatwick for £7,053. Both were with AAT Kings. Though they were over budget, they were tailor-made itineraries, with extra activities chosen by us.
1 West Street
After greeting me with a smile, the agent asked lots questions, but admitted we had limited options due to the dates and length of trip. We were offered the 19-day Kiwi Encounter tour for £5,484, flying Emirates from Heathrow. The second option was the 13-day Pure Adrenaline tour for £4,724. Both were with Topdeck, flying Emirates from Gatwick. The trips visited lots of the places, but didn’t include many thrill-seeking activities.
52 South Street
The shop looked quite bland, but we were greeted quickly and sat down with an agent. They didn’t have many ideas and I had to offer ideas from a brochure. They seemed flustered and didn’t have much destination knowledge. They offered a 14-day AAT Kings New Zealand Marvel tour, flying with Singapore Airlines from Heathrow for £8,021, which was too long and over budget. The agent did not seem very enthusiastic.
Jo Goddard, personal travel expert, Kuoni
“I enjoy spending time with customers to find out what they want and being able to tailor their perfect holiday. At Kuoni we put a lot of emphasis on destination training so can bring a destination to life for any customer who comes in.”
It was a close call, but while Kuoni came in over budget, the service was top notch and the tours were packed full of extra tailored activities. Flight Centre came in under budget but missed a trick by not adding extras to hit the full budget.
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
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