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Brief: A couple are seeking a 10-11 day trip to Thailand in February. They want a multi-centre trip visiting Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, and want to stay in the most luxurious properties they can afford without blowing the budget.
Verdict: Good customer rapport and solid sales skills gave a great result for this trainee agent.
The Co-operative Travel
12 The Forum
I wasn’t acknowledged when I entered the shop and had to ask for assistance. I was told the computers were down, so I asked for some brochures and the agent handed me brochures from Kuoni, Virgin and Hayes & Jarvis, and then walked away.
She was unfriendly and offhand, and made no attempt to find out what my request was concerning or to take my contact details so that they could call me back when the computers were back up and running.
I left the shop feeling deflated and none the wiser.
The agent here, and the Hayes & Jarvis rep she rang, had both been to Thailand and were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about it. She asked lots of questions and priced up a package for £2,875 staying in Centara CentralWorld in Bangkok, the Shangri La in Chiang Mai and the Radisson Plaza in Phuket.
She was so friendly and helpful but fell down slightly on things to take away – just one brochure and the printed quote was very brief.
A second, upgraded option was discussed but I had no details other than a price written on the first quote. However I would have felt very confident booking with this agent.
Though this agent didn’t know Thailand herself, her colleague had been and gave me an enthusiastic and informative summary. She printed out lots of information on climate, passport requirements, jabs, places to visit and things to do, and gave me two brochures and printed quotes.
Premier Holidays offered a package from £3,943 staying at Four Points by Sheraton in Bangkok, The Chedi in Chiang Mai and the Centara Grand Beach Resort in Phuket.
The Hayes & Jarvis quote came in at £2,364 for stays at the Shanghai Mansion in Bangkok, the Kantary Hills Hotel in Chiang Mai and the Kata Beach Resort in Phuket. We discussed excursions, and the agent asked me to call her back or pop in with any queries.
I was made to feel relaxed and in the holiday mood by this pleasant, friendly agent, who built up a rapport by chatting while we waited.
She was very thorough in finding out all my requirements, and though we had to wait a long time to speak to someone at Thomas Cook Signature the resulting package was good, with two night stays in the Bel-Aire Princess Bangkok and The Legend Chiang Rai, and four nights at the Katathani Phuket Beach Resort all for £3,437 with Thai Airways flights.
I was given a printed quote, and a quote for insurance with a leaflet, information on trackable luggage tags and details of excursions. She took my details and I received a call to see how I was getting on with planning my holiday a couple of days after I had left the shop.
Winning agent: Danielle Shpherd, apprentice sales consultant
“I'm 18 years old and started as an apprentice with Thomas Cook three months ago on an 18-month training programme. I've done a bit of my own research on Thailand.”
Top 5 tips for selling Thailand
- Highlights of Thailand’s north include rural scenery with mountains and rice paddies, cultural experiences visiting temples and hill tribes, and activities such as elephant trekking and trip on traditional ‘long-tail’ boats.
- The strong cultural bias makes the area prime territory for escorted tours, with operators travelling overland from Bangkok and giving clients a comprehensive experience of the Thai mainland.
- However, the area links easily to the rest of the country, making multi-centre itineraries a doddle. Thai Airways flights connect Chiang Mai with Bangkok and Phuket, making a city/highlands/beach combination very popular.
- Though the UK winter is high season for this area, don’t discount the summer, especially to bag a bargain. It’s still a very warm 30C and rain will come in showers rather than an all-day downpour.
- For more on Thailand, visit gazetteers.com
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