A family of four want to go to the Izmir region of Turkey for a week in the summer holidays. They would like a beachfront, all-inclusive hotel with lots of activities for the kids and babysitting services.
Verdict: The winning agent really brought the holiday alive for the Mystery Shopper
View Mystery Shopper: Bridlington and Driffield travel agents tested on Izmir in a larger map
45 Promenade, Bridlington
The friendly agent at this clean, attractive shop found me several suitable properties in Kusadasi. These included Pine Bay Resort, Sealight Hotel Resort, Ephesus Princess Hotel and Kustur Club Holiday Village, for prices ranging from £2,460 to £2,860, all through Thomas Cook, flying on August 17.
However, the consultant wasn’t very enthusiastic about my holiday, and I didn’t feel she was very knowledgeable about the area. She didn’t mention excursions or add-ons, and it was unclear what exactly was included in the quotes she gave me in terms of luggage, inflight meals and reserved seating.
I felt I could probably have got similar results myself using the internet and the brochure – there was little added value.
Unit 1, The Promenade Centre, Bridlington
The agent here had good knowledge of the area and showed patience in searching for many hotel options across different dates. Through Thomas Cook she offered me the Sealight Hotel Resort, the Kustur Club and the Pine Bay Resort in Kusadasi, with departure dates of August 10 and 24 and prices ranging from £2,400 to £2,950.
The agent made good use of the brochure and computer system to illustrate my choices and gave me the brochure and three well-presented quotes to take away. She mentioned insurance and parking but didn’t include quotes for them. And she took my details but didn’t offer to follow up my inquiry.
Overall, I felt she could have been more enthusiastic to make me feel excited about my holiday.
The Co-operative Travel
60 Market Place, Driffield
There were letters missing from the shop sign but the agency inside was clean and tidy. The service was friendly and informative, with the staff working well together. Other customers seemed pleased too.
The agent who served me offered Pine Bay and Ephesus Princess in Kusadasi and the Paloma Club Sultan in Ozdere through Thomas Cook for £2,939, £2,559 and £2,903 respectively, all including insurance, additional baggage, inflight seating and meals. These were for August 17 departures.
The agent checked other dates but they were more expensive. I was given a business card, two brochures and three quotes, but more flight details would have been useful. The agent took my details but didn’t offer to follow up my visit with a call.
7 King Street, Bridlington
The agent here was exceptionally friendly and enthusiastic about my holiday. She told me she had often visited Turkey and made me feel I had made an excellent choice.
She was very patient, listening to all my requirements and looking at the options available. She offered the Ephesia Holiday Beach Club through First Choice for £2,698, departing on August 11, including allocated seats, additional baggage, airport parking and travel insurance.
In addition to a brochure and printed quote, I was given a printed list of excursions. We looked at these and they made me feel more excited about the holiday and more liable to book. The agent gave me a business card and took my details, asking if she could follow up with a call.
She tried to close the sale, mentioning that the £700 deposit could be reduced to about £315 if I booked soon.
Winning agent: Michaela Rowling, travel adviser
“I came back from maternity leave two months ago, and it’s interesting to see how our regular clients who used to book the same holidays each year have become more open-minded.”
- Izmir is the farthest north of Turkey’s beach gateways. Two flight routes are starting this month: Aer Lingus from Dublin and easyJet from Gatwick
- Kusadasi is the area’s most popular beach resort. It’s great for families, with good beaches and waterparks, and many shops, bars and restaurants, and is offered by operators such as Thomas Cook, First Choice, Wings Abroad and Cosmos
- Specialist operator Anatolian Sky offers smaller, authentically Turkish resorts such as Alacati, Akyaka and Cesme
- The area has a high number of ancient sites to visit, including Ephesus, Pergamon and Aphrodisias. The hot springs and rock formations of Pamukkale are a popular day trip too
- For more on Izmir and the rest of Turkey, see this week’s feature or subscribe to Gazetteers.com
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