Brief: A family of four want to go to Crete for a fortnight during the school summer holidays. They’d like a resort with a nice beach and good but low-key nightlife, and want to stay in a self-catering apartment with a pool.
Verdict: The winning agent gave Mystery Shopper a wide choice of options at the requested price.
View Mystery Shopper: Ulverston travel agents tested on Crete in a larger map
22 Market Street, Ulverston
There wasn’t much to look at in the window of this shop, and there weren’t many brochures on display. However, this hadn’t deterred other customers, as it was very busy during my visit.
The agent who served me had a very good knowledge of Crete and gave me lots of information about the island, but she gave me the impression my budget was not enough. She also failed to give me her full attention because the printer was broken and she kept stopping to help her colleague fix it.
The consultant offered me stays at Petros Village near Anissaras with Olympic Holidays over a range of dates from £2,108, but was not able to find anything nearer my budget.
The Co-operative Travel
16 Market Street, Ulverston
The staff in this bright, clean shop were all very friendly, and between them could give me plenty of details on Crete, but they chatted among themselves while dealing with me and other customers, which I felt was a little rude.
The agent who served me was very enthusiastic and really tried her best to find me something within my budget, but her cheapest deal was for the Emilia Apartments in Elounda for £2,003 with Airtours.
I was given three printed quotes and a brochure to take away, but the agent became very pushy on trying to close the sale. I found her approach too overpowering and it put me off this agency.
8-10 Market Street, Ulverston
The shop was a little dirty outside, but clean within, and all the agents in the shop greeted me simultaneously as I entered, which made us smile.
The consultation continued in an extremely friendly and welcoming manner. I was offered a seat and the agent knew lots about the area, checking anything she wasn’t sure of on Gazetteers.com.
She recommended two properties in Gouves, the Kilo Apartments, which she offered through Sunset for £1,770, and the Villa Marie Kelly apartments, available through Manos for £1,595.
The agent gave me her undivided attention, and two brochures and a written quote to take away. She offered to call me to follow up.
St George’s Terrace, Millom
The agent here was thorough, friendly and polite, and came up with the best deals I was shown. She found a really varied selection of hotels, all close to budget, flying from various airports on different dates, so I really felt I had the choice of what was available.
I was offered the Maria Apartments in Sissi for £1,624 and the Uncle George Apartments in Amadoura for £1,650, among other options. I was given a brochure and five printed quotes to take home, but the agent didn’t offer to follow up my consultation with a call, or try to sell any add-ons, though I felt she might have if I had called back to book.
I would recommend this agency, and would have no hesitation in going back, as this agent was extremely helpful.
Winning agent: Heather McGrath, owner
“I used to work in the hotel and catering business, but when we moved back to the area five years ago we bought this shop.”
- Being just north of Gavdos, the most southerly point in Europe, Crete enjoys the longest summers in Europe.
- Crete is the Med’s second-biggest island. Recommend clients hire a car to explore the mountainous interior, remote coastal areas and hillside villages.
- The island is great for active types and has some excellent hiking trails. Operators offering it include UTracks, Gap, and Explore.
- Suggest families hit one of the island’s four water parks – Aqua Splash, Star Beach and Watercity in the east, and Limnoupolis in the west.
- For more information about Crete, see page 38 of Destinations or subscribe to Gazetteers.com
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