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THE LEADERBOARD Who’s the best travel seller in the UK so far this year?

Go to for profiles of former winners and to see our Mystery Shopper leaderboard.

High street v internet


First impressions: This website appealed to me because it spoke of Fiji experts. It was very professionally presented, easy to navigate and full of colourful pictures and there was also a freephone number to ring to speak to a consultant. 7/10

Sales process: I waited five minutes to be put through to a consultant. I was asked questions and given the option of a flight from Manchester to Gatwick, as it was not direct from Manchester. The consultant was friendly and built up a rapport. 10/15

Product match: The consultant matched my requirements with several options within budget and on the correct date. However, they did not give me much information about the resorts and facilities and I wasn’t given an option of flight times or asked if they were suitable. 11/15

Making the sale: Because the consultant didn’t give me much information about the hotels, the holiday didn’t really come alive for me. They asked if I would book in the near future and encouraged me to ring back, but no real incentive was given. 6/10

Althams Travel 1 New Market Street

First impressions: The store looked as if it needed refurbishment. The decor was rather old and tired, and a lot of the advertising had been printed and taped to the wall. A consultant greeted me but did not smile initially. 6/10

Sales process: The consultant I dealt with was knowledgeable on Fiji. The resort was found quickly and I was shown details of it, but I was not asked a great deal of questions. I felt the consultant could have been more inquisitive. 10/15

Product match: The consultant compared two hotels at a similar price; both matched my requirements of a relaxing break and were under budget at £4,373. However, I was not told about insurance or whether transfers were included in the cost. 11/15

Making the sale: The consultant did not try and persuade me to book the chosen holiday that day. I was given a total price for the package but no discount was mentioned to try and seal the deal. The consultant said their prices were usually similar to those of Thomson. 5/10

Virgin Holidays

First impressions: This site looked professional and I was drawn by the tagline of “The palm trees aren’t waving in the breeze. They’re your welcome committee. Unleash your mojo in Fiji”. Being a well-known brand also led me to believe they would be reliable. 8/10

Sales process: Although the website was well presented I could not get an online quote. When I rang I was left on hold for 12 minutes, which was not ideal, and a consultant came back with one quote that was over budget at £6,799. 6/15

Product match: The quote was £1,799 over budget and not a viable option. Although the website spoke of ideal holiday matches, this was not really the case. However, it was a beautiful five-star hotel from the Hilton group and did seem good value. 6/15

Making the sale: The consultant did not try to seal the deal. Price fluctuations were not mentioned and I was not given an incentive to book with this company. I didn’t feel I had been given the best deal possible. 5/10

68% 64% 50% STEP


TTG continues 2014 in style with our sixth of eight tours across the UK. Join TTG and a host of key travel suppliers for a fun, free and informative evening.

Find your nearest

1 location at: /on-tour

This week’s winner

Name:Michelle Boardman Job title: Sales adviser Company: Thomson Do many clients request holidays in the South Pacific? I’ve sold very little South Pacific. For a long-haul beach break, people here tend to go for the Caribbean or Mauritius. How long have you worked in travel for? I’ve been in travel for 28 years, including 10 years in this shop. I love travel because it is always changing; there is always something new to learn. I’ve never thought of doing anything different. Where’s next on your travel agenda? Canada. I’d like to take the train through the Rockies. I’m just waiting for my kids to get a bit older!

Who gets the booking? The Virgin Holidays website looked professional but the quote was well over my budget. The consultant at Althams Travel matched my needs well but didn’t attempt to seal the deal and the store needed sprucing up. The consultant at Austravel built a good rapport with me but failed to fill in the gaps when it came to hotel details. Michelle at Thomson was friendly and helpful, and invested a lot of time and effort into my enquiry.


Register to attend

2 STEP Turn up 3 on the night To book a place at your nearest location visit 17.07.2014 31

IN SEPTEMBER WE WILL VISIT: Manchester, Nottingham, Peterborough and west London


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