Mystery shopper: Winter sun in the Caribbean

Mystery shopper: Winter sun in the Caribbean

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Location: Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
Wanted: A couple are looking for some winter sun in the Caribbean for 10 nights shortly after Christmas.
Budget: £7,500

This week's winner: Thomas Cook, 6-7 Market place

The agent came straight over to greet me, smiling. She explored several options before recommending 14 nights at the Paradisus Princesa del Mar Resort & Spa in Varadero in Cuba with Thomas Cook for £6,648, departing on December 30.

The agent had lots to say when I asked about the benefits of that hotel and I was given a printout with her name and number on and agreed to a follow-up call.

The agent had considerable personal experience and knowledge and made use of various online tools such as brochures and TripAdvisor to gather additional information.

The agent also discussed travel insurance, airport parking and accommodation at the airport, along with excursion options in the Caribbean.

The Co-operative Travel, The Bell Centre

This agent was warm and friendly. She supplemented her personal knowledge with research. She recommended Cocobay Hotel in Antigua with Thomas Cook, costing £7,082 for 10 nights, departing on December 29.

The fine‑dining options were limited to one à la carte restaurant. The agent did not give me her contact details, but did attempt to sell me add-ons.

Thomson, 1 High street

I was greeted fairly quickly but the agent, while very enthusiastic, seemed inexperienced and said she normally worked in the bureau de change.

She patiently explored options and attempted to answer all of my questions before recommending a £6,144 First Choice holiday at Club Barbados for 14 nights. She tried to sell add-ons including insurance and car parking, but did not attempt to close the sale.

All the agents provided good recommendations, but I was not confident the third agent suggested the most appropriate option for me

Winning agent

Carole Tedds, travel consultant, Co-operative Travel and Thomas Cook

I've worked for Co-operative Travel for many years (and occasionally provide cover at Thomas Cook), but did take a year out five years ago to work as a rep for Inghams in Zermatt and Mayrhofen.

I love working in the travel industry; you meet different customers every day and get to help them plan their perfect holiday.



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