Mystery Shopper: Romantic break in Rome

Mystery Shopper: Romantic break in Rome

Location: Guildford, Surrey

Wanted: A romantic break in Rome. A couple would like to stay for four nights in May. They would like a city-centre hotel and are interested in booking a day trip to Pompeii.

Budget: £1,700

Thomas Cook
46 high street
81%

I was welcomed as soon as I entered the shop by an agent who listened carefully to my request.

He gave me the impression he knew about Rome and showed me an Inghams brochure before recommending a four-night stay at the Miami Hotel, for £716, not including flights, as well as an ‘elite trip’ to Naples and Pompeii for £83 per adult.

The agent said the hotel was in the centre of Rome, near the Spanish Steps. I was not told the times of the flight, I was just asked where I’d like to fly from.

The agent did not try to close the sale – he was happy for me to take the information away and consider. I was impressed with the agent’s knowledge but would have appreciated a total cost.

Flight Centre
23 swan lane
63%

The agent took care to ask my budget and attempted to meet my requirements. A lot of research was done in the store, but I did not see any images of hotels, apart from thumbnails on the computer.

The agent needed a bit of advice from colleagues at one point and although the consultant was happy to trawl the web for flights, it took a long time. The biggest problem was the agent failed to email me any holiday options.

Kuoni
42 high street
39%

The shop looked inviting from the outside, however the agent didn’t seem overly enthusiastic about my holiday.

It took a while for my query to be dealt with and when I was eventually spoken to the staff member gave me a brochure and said if I was interested I could contact another agent in the store.

I was not asked my budget or requirements and when I asked about a tour I was directed to a chapter in the brochure.


Verdict

None of the agencies managed to give me a total holiday cost despite me pushing for this. Overall it was a disappointing week.


Winning Agent

Plamen Yordanov, travel consultant
"I have worked in this role for a year and a half and have worked in the travel industry for 10 years, starting out as a tour guide in Bulgaria. Travel is my passion and I could not imagine doing a job that does not involve working with the public and finding someone their perfect holiday."

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