Location: Bristol
Wanted: A mature single lady would like a five-day escorted tour in the UK with like-minded but people, preferably by the seaside and without a single supplement.
Budget: £350

Tui
37 Broadmead
89%
This shop was immaculate, staff looked smart and the window and brochure displays were good. I was greeted on entry and the agent was brilliant – friendly, enthusiastic and patient. She was pleasant, helpful and eager to find the right information for me. Both quotes were with Shearings for five-day coach holidays departing from Bristol. The first was in March, a Bay Inclusive break in Blackpool, staying half board in a single room at Liberty’s on the Square, for £229. The second was for the operator’s Beautiful North Wales and Cruise itinerary, staying half board in a single room in the Marine Hotel in July, for £321. The experience was enjoyable and I was given the agent’s undivided attention. It was a pleasure from the minute I stepped through the door.

Thornton’s Travel
54 Baldwin Street
43%
The shop looked clean but in need of modernisation and I wasn’t dealt with for 5-10 minutes as staff were busy. I was told Bakers Dolphin would be better, as Thornton’s doesn’t sell many coach trips. She was not forthcoming and was more interested in cruises. I was quoted for a five-day Shearings Scarborough and York coach trip, departing in April from Bristol, for £231. I had to drag information from her as I was not spending a great deal of money. It was as if they felt this small trip wasn’t worthy of their time.

Thomas Cook
83 East Street
37%
The shop’s exterior looked neglected; the floor inside had not been vacuumed and there were coffee stains on tables. Staff were dressed differently, not in uniform. The agent didn’t want to help me, and advised me to try elsewhere, such as Bakers Dolphin – but I insisted she try to find details. I was quoted for a five-day Shearings coach holiday departing in April, staying at Marine Hotel, Llandudno, for £223. I had to do most of the work and they made me feel like I was a hindrance.


Winning agent

Galina Kamencova, travel advisor, Tui

“I’ve been an agent for four months and did a course  about UK holidays a week before the enquiry, which prompted me to look for Shearings. We often recommend the UK as a second holiday, and other bookings can result from UK inquiries.”


Verdict

The Tui agent was enthusiastic and generated ideal quotations, both with Shearings. Thornton’s Travel and Thomas Cook also produced quotes with Shearings, eventually, but the shopper had to persevere and push for information, as the agents didn’t seem interested in domestic breaks.


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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