A family with two children under 12 wants to spend the October half-term in an all-inclusive resort in Tenerife. They would like a lively but not loud resort, and are interested in a few excursions.
Verdict: Multiples beat independents this week, with Thomson offering a great all-round service.
View Mystery Shopper: Bangor travel agents tested on Tenerife in a larger map
74 High Street
I was studiously ignored when I walked into this shop, which looked dark and uninviting from the outside. The radio was playing loudly, and although an agent was free I wasn’t acknowledged until I asked for help.
I was referred to the brochure rack and told that the Skytours, Airtours, Thomson and Thomas Cook brochures would have what I wanted. I eventually got the agent to look up the cost of a holiday I’d picked from the brochure, but there was no enthusiasm.
No attempt at a follow-up was made, and I was not encouraged to return.
364 High Street
I was greeted and treated cordially at this agency, which shares its premises with a coffee shop. However I had to work hard to get a recommendation, rather than going away with a little bit of information.
The agent asked very few questions, but was obviously knowledgeable, suggesting the Isabel Family Hotel – which was offered through Thomas Cook for £3,086 – because it had one-bedroom apartments. The fact it was around budget was chance, as the agent hadn’t asked what ours was.
I was only offered the one option, and given a quote, compliment slip and brochure. There was no attempt to close the sale, or take my details.
The Co-operative Travel
228 High Street
The agent acknowledged me with a smile as soon as she had finished with her previous customers. She was unhurried and spent time checking details of holidays and Googling customer hotel reviews.
She had visited the island and made personal recommendations. She offered two excellent choices – the Sentido Jacaranda through Thomas Cook for £2,905, and the Paradise Park through Escape Beach for £3,337.
She mentioned car hire and theme park tickets, but didn’t price these. She didn’t ask about my budget. I was given brochures and printed quotes, and she encouraged me to call back and book.
217b High Street
This clean, attractive shop was very busy when I called in, but as I browsed brochures a staff member apologised for the delay and encouraged me to take a seat.
The very friendly agent asked all the right questions and had excellent knowledge, picking out suitable options and researching areas she was unsure of. She gave personal recommendations and knew which resorts had high rebooking rates.
She offered two resorts in different areas of the island to give me choice: the Marylanza Suites in Playa de las Americas from £2,792 with Thomson and the Holiday Village Tenerife in Playa de la Arena from £3,387 with First Choice.
Both quotes included insurance and the agent offered prices for Siam Park tickets and a couple of days’ car hire. She encouraged me to book, and took my details.
- Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, and the most popular with tourists. There’s a great climate, averaging 21C in winter and 27C in summer.
- This spring easyJet started flying non-stop from Bristol to Tenerife, and Jet2.com launched a direct twice-weekly service between Glasgow and the island.
- Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos offer lively nightlife. Playa de la Arena, La Caleta and Los Arigos are quieter and more relaxed. Tenerife’s beaches are black volcanic sand, but there are many man-made golden beaches too.
- Attractions include water parks Siam Park and Aqualand Costa Adeje, wildlife parks Loro Parque and Las Aguilas Jungle Park. Excursions to Mount Teide in the north are popular.
- For more on Tenerife see page 47 and Gazetteers.com
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