Brief: A family with two teenagers are looking for a beach holiday in Turkey during the summer holidays. They would like a mid-range hotel with plenty of activities for the kids, and want to book at least one excursion to take together.
Verdict: Personal experience and enthusiasm for the destination were key to the winning agent securing a sale.
Winner: Regal Travel
2 Forge Road
This shop was exceptionally tidy and the staff were neatly dressed, giving an excellent first impression. I was greeted with a smile and as we chatted, the agent gathered lots of details about what I wanted. She gave me quotes for Sunlight Garden in Side at £2,188 all-inclusive, and Club Ilayda and Club Anastasia in Marmaris, for £2,300 and £2,516 respectively on half-board.
These were all from the Thomas Cook Families or Summersun brochures and included free car parking at Cardiff airport and flights on July 20 or 21. She suggested a boat trip to see mud pools and turtles, but didn’t give me a price.
What really made the holiday come alive was her extensive knowledge of Turkey. She had been more than once so she was enthusiastic and gave me great advice about the facilities in the area. I would feel very confident booking with her.
Winning agent: Gemma Trickey, sales consultant
“I’ve been to Turkey twice and it’s one of my favourite destinations so it means I can advise customers about what it’s like there. We tend to ring each other for advice on a destination if we know a colleague has been, but it’s always good to have been yourself because you get a feel for the place.”
The Co-operative Travel
When I went into this smart agency, one assistant was busy but another greeted me straightaway. The agent was very knowledgeable about Turkey and offered quotes for six hotels, including Sun Hill Suites in Gumbet for £2,482 and the Cosmopolitan Resort in Marmaris for £2,867, both all-inclusive with Thomas Cook.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have any brochures for me to take away. The consultant was very thorough and mentioned useful details such as the cost of the visa. The only thing that put me off was the desks were very close to each other, so other customers could hear all my details.
The Travel House
Unit 1, Riverside Walk
The agent who welcomed me to the store made lots of notes about my requirements and offered useful comments based on her trips to Turkey while she prepared quotes for Sunlight Garden and Aral Hotel in Side, and Montebello Hotel in Olu Deniz.
These were a bit above my budget – the lowest price was £2,672 for Aral Hotel on all-inclusive – but there were extras such as free airport parking or a free coach transfer to the airport. A bit more enthusiasm and suggestions for activities in the area would have been helpful, but overall it was still a good experience.
Want to know how you could have scored 100%? We look at some options to make Mystery Shopper’s ideal itinerary
Finding a holiday for a family with teenagers can be a challenge, but Turkey’s broad appeal makes it perfect for all ages.
It’s great value too – the pound is stronger against the lira than last summer and fierce competition between operators is keeping hotel prices low. Food and drink is also cheaper than in many other European resorts.
Look out for opportunities to boost commission by booking excursions as well as the package. Mystery Shopper asked for suggestions, but only one agent rose to the challenge.
Keep the kids busy
The sun-soaked shores are home to just about every watersport on earth – kitesurfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, jetskiing, sea kayaking and snorkelling are just a few options.
For family fun, book tickets to Aqua Dream Water Park in Marmaris (£21 adults, £16 children, attractionworld.com) or book an off-road Jeep safari from Bodrum (£41/£20, dosomethingdifferent.com).
Mystery Shopper was keen to find excursions the family could take together. A turtle-watching trip along the Dalyan River (£20/£10) would have been perfect, or for younger children, the Family Sunsplash Cruise from Icmeler, which includes on-board entertainment (both with Thomson Excursions).
Mum and dad deserve a holiday too, so relax with a Turkish bath or take a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus (£50, dosomethingdifferent.com). If they can ditch the kids for the day, suggest a romantic boat trip to Rhodes or Kos, or a wander through the bustling bazaars of Antalya market.
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