Brief: Four friends want to celebrate their birthdays by going to Las Vegas in September or October for five nights. They want to stay in the most glamorous hotels they can afford and take an excursion to the Grand Canyon.
Budget: £5,000 for four.
Verdict: The winning agent’s thorough use of first-hand experience impressed Mystery Shopper.
View Mystery Shopper: Truro and Redruth travel agents tested on Las Vegas in a larger map
21 Victoria Square, Truro
Score: TIME OUT*
The only member of staff in this agency was serving a couple and failed to acknowledge me for 25 minutes. The agent had good destination knowledge, pinpointing straight away which hotels were well located, and she was able to explain excursions thoroughly.
I was given a Travel 2 brochure and a printout of five hotels with per person prices ranging from £731 for Circus Circus up to £824 for New York New York, although I would have preferred a group price. I was offered direct flights with Virgin or cheaper ones with US Airways going via Charlotte, North Carolina.
I was also given a list of the excursions we’d discussed. The agent was patient but not overly friendly.
* An agency that keeps Mystery Shopper waiting for 15 minutes without acknowledgement will fail to score.
6 Boscawen Street, Truro
The member of staff was very friendly but she seemed to have almost no knowledge of Las Vegas. She just read sentences out from brochures and websites, and initially started recommending hotels that weren’t even near the Strip.
She finally recommended a hotel her colleague had stayed at, the Venetian, and offered us a discounted rate of £4,350 for five nights in Venezia Bella suites with flights, departing September 29.
After prompting she said they could offer excursions, and printed a list off the computer, before offering to call me to see if I wanted to book.
She did her best, but I really felt she didn’t know enough about Las Vegas to trust her recommendations.
82a Fore Street, Redruth
This agent was very patient with her computer, which was very slow, and long phone calls, and was committed to getting me a good deal.
Five nights in the Signature resort at the MGM Grand plus flights, resort fees and insurance was £3,830, departing on September 27. However, I had stressed that it was a once-in-a lifetime trip and I was happy to hit budget, so I would have liked details on upgrades or other hotels.
She gave me a brochure, a printed quote and details on three possible excursions to the Grand Canyon ranging from £76 to £294. I wasn’t given any contact details for her, but she did offer to call me to follow up my enquiry.
2-3 Lemon Street, Truro
This agent really impressed me. He asked lots of questions and was keen to know exactly what we wanted to do in Las Vegas. The use of first-hand experiences and advice made me feel he knew what he was talking about.
Hotel rates were explained, taking into account how much we’d need to spend on taxis, and excursions were brought alive with the agent’s personal memories. Through Virgin Holidays he offered a five-night stay at New York New York for £3,913, the Luxor for £3,751, Excalibur for £3,593 and the Venetian for £4,856, departing September 21.
I was given a printed quote for flights and a brochure with all the suggested hotels in. The agent’s knowledge of Las Vegas was superb and I felt I was talking to a person with lots of knowledge of the destination, not just a salesman.
The agent didn’t take my details, but urged me to call back to book.
Winning agent: Adam Randall, assistant manager
“I have been to Las Vegas, but just once on an educational four years ago, and I stayed at the Luxor. I loved it and would without a doubt go back, but maybe that’s because I won money rather than lost!”
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