Brief: A couple are looking for a last-minute city break to Prague during May bank holiday weekend. They’d like a decent hotel that’s quite central and want to book some excursions now so they make the most of their time away.
Verdict: The winner offered the best overall package, including excursions, plus excellent customer service.
Winner: Connoisseur Travel
I liked this company’s website as it had an air of affluence and lots of information about Prague, so I knew I’d be able to make an informed decision about my holiday. I spoke to a friendly and enthusiastic agent who listened carefully to what I wanted.
She emailed me back the same day with a quote for three nights’ bed and breakfast at the four-star Elite Hotel in Prague, flying with easyJet on May 4, plus a river-by-night cruise, at £1,085 for two.
It was above my budget, but by far the best package and I felt I could trust this knowledgeable agent to find me a good deal – although it would have been handy if she’d had access to some prices while on the phone instead of having to email later. She was the most helpful, answering questions quickly and confidently, and I would have been more than happy to book with her.
Winning agent: Nicole Kenny, sales consultant
“I’ve been working at Connoisseur Travel since January but I was at Thomas Cook before that – I’ve been in travel since I was 18. I did languages at school and I really enjoyed learning about different cultures, so I think that’s what got me into the travel industry.”
My initial impression was good as the website was bright and easy to use, and the consultant who dealt with my call was very friendly. However, the assistant didn’t ask many questions and didn’t seem to know much about Prague so was quite hesitant on the phone.
I was given a quote on the spot for three nights’ B&B at the four-star Aida Hotel for £698, or the Angelis Hotel for £711, both flying with easyJet. But the agent didn’t tell me basic things such as the departure airport and didn’t send me any information about the hotels, so I wasn’t confident the recommendations would be right for me.
City Break UK
I liked this colourful website as it had useful information and was easy to navigate. However, the first agent I spoke to said they didn’t cover Prague, then when I called back again, another assistant offered three nights’ B&B at the three-star Koruna Hotel for £670, also with easyJet.
I had no idea whether this would actually suit me as the agent hadn’t asked anything about what I wanted, except the dates I planned to travel, and didn’t seem to know much about the city. I didn’t receive any follow-up calls or emails and there was no attempt to close the sale – a disappointing experience.
Want to know how you could have scored 100%? We look at some options to make Mystery Shopper’s ideal itinerary
Prague is the perfect city-break destination – steeped in history, ranging from tiny cobbled streets to the majestic Charles Bridge, and small enough to get around on foot.
It can get busy during peak times, but don’t let that put your clients off – there are plenty of off-the-beaten-track places to explore even when the tourist season is at its highest. The mature city-break market also means there are dozens of hotels and guesthouses to fit every budget within easy reach of the city centre.
What to do
The must-see attraction is the 14th-century Prague Castle – the largest castle complex in the world – dominated by a Gothic cathedral, splendid palaces and tranquil gardens. Do Something Different has a castle walking tour from £33 for adults and £28 for children (dosomethingdifferent.com).
Recommend a stroll over the lively Charles Bridge and a coffee in Wenceslas Square to see Prague at its most vibrant, or a wander through the narrow, winding streets of the Old Town and the ancient Jewish Quarter for a glimpse of the city’s historical heart. Bundle it all into one with Attraction World’s Prague Great City Tour, £31 for adults, £18 for children (attractionworld.com).
For unbeatable views, climb up Petrin Hill (or for an easier ride, take the funicular railway) to look out over the famed city spires, or see it all from the Vltava River, the longest river in the Czech Republic (Cresta’s river cruise tour starts at £19).
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