Location: Ipswich
Wanted: A couple in their 30s want to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a romantic, indulgent, all-inclusive Caribbean holiday.
Budget: £3,500

Idelo Travel
St Nicholas Street
89%
I was welcomed as soon as I entered and offered a seat. I was asked plenty of questions to narrow down my requirements, and the agent called Sandals for a quote. While on the phone, the agent continued to check my requirements. We looked at photos of the hotel. The agent was enthusiastic about Sandals and St Lucia, and explained which activities were included. Both quotes were for seven nights’ all-inclusive in St Lucia, departing in March from Gatwick with British Airways. The first was staying at Sandals Regency La Toc, for £3,694, while the second was at St James Club Morgan Bay for £3,598. This second quote wasn’t specifically discussed because it was emailed to me later, as an alternative to the Sandals quote.

TravelQuest
St Nicholas Street
87%
I was immediately welcomed by an agent who talked enthusiastically and knowledgeably. We looked in detail at one hotel which I was quoted for but the agent also produced more expensive and luxurious option, which was over budget.  Both quotes were for seven-night holidays departing in March from Gatwick. The first was for a Thomas Cook holiday, with Thomas Cook Airlines, staying at Grand Bahia Principe, Mexico, for £2,322. The second was with Kuoni, staying at Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort & Spa in Jamaica, for £4,335.

Thomas Cook
Tavern Street
84%
The agent used their excellent Caribbean knowledge and personal experience to advise me. They gave two quotes; both seven-night Thomas Cook packages, flying from Gatwick in March. The first included Thomas Cook Airlines flights to Mexico staying at Unico 20° 87°, Riviera Maya, for £3,399; the second was to Jamaica with Virgin Atlantic flights staying at Luxury Bahia Principe Runaway Bay, for £3,488. I was expecting a follow-up call or email but didn’t receive one.


Winning agent

Andrea Powell, owner/managing director, Idelo Travel

“We don’t get that many queries for the Caribbean, but we do book a lot of tailor-made long-haul holidays. When I heard the request, Sandals was the obvious choice.”


Verdict

All three agencies scored highly and produced good quotes that met the shopper’s requirements. Idelo Travel came up with the best options and were within the price range while TravelQuest’s two quotes strayed away from the budget. Thomas Cook’s agent failed to follow up as promised.No agents gave options for additional products, which would have boosted their scores.


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.

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