Mystery shopper: A couples' trip to Washington DC

Mystery shopper: A couples' trip to Washington DC

Location: Cribbs Causeway Bristol
Wanted: A couple wants to splash out on a trip to Washington DC for up to two weeks in September and would like to see some of the surrounding area.
Budget: £5,000

Virgin Holidays, 155 Upper Level

An agent in the shop greeted me almost immediately and was really friendly and proactive. She sat with me, established my budget, dates and preferences and seemed genuinely excited by my holiday.

Although the agent said the USA was not her area of expertise, she worked with what she knew and sought advice from colleagues. I was recommended an 11-night, £4,222 trip with Virgin Holidays that included visits to Williamsburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and car hire.

I was given a brochure to take away and sent a follow-up email. The agent found a trip that met all parts of my requirements. The only drawback was that the agents had to confer so much, but I appreciated their help.

Thomas Cook, 39 Lower Level

While the holiday recommended in this store fulfilled my needs well, and the agent was helpful and efficient, the trip was largely based around copying a Virgin itinerary – I mentioned I had seen a holiday in their brochure – rather than the agent’s initiative.

I was recommended an 11-night, £3,364 holiday with Netflights, including a visit to New York and other cities. Car hire would be $99 extra. The agent was not overly enthusiastic.

Thomson, 141 Upper Level

The agent was not particularly enthusiastic but was pleasant and polite, once they were available to see me. Some destinations they noted down did not match what I had talked about, however. I was not given contact details and did not receive a holiday quote via email the following day, as promised.

I was also unable to take a brochure away.*The mystery shopper received a quote a day later of £3,729 for a 12-night trip.

Winning agent
Ashton Dorrington
Sales consultant

I have been working for Virgin Holidays since September last year and I am based in our brand new standalone store in Cribbs Causeway. I love working in such an exciting environment and bringing every customer’s holiday journey to life. Most importantly, I enjoy helping our customers to dream bigger and tailoring their perfect holiday.”


All the agents provided detailed itineraries well within budget, but the Thomson agent did not provide a quote in the timescale promised.


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