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WANTED


An older couple would like to explore New Zealand on an escorted group tour that includes the country’s highlights, such as Auckland and Christchurch, its most spectacular scenery and Maori culture. They’re flexible about when to travel in 2020 but want to make sure the


weather will suit them and would prefer a three-week holiday. They also want advice about flight times, jet lag and entry requirements.


Budget: £10,000 THE VERDICT


Both the Trailfinders and Kuoni agents came up with detailed and extensive itineraries that suited the mystery shopper’s request, albeit somewhat above budget. The shopper scored Trailfinders slightly higher due to the service and the lack of waiting time. The STA Travel quotation was by far the cheapest but the details were scant and the store was not very tidy.


WINNING AGENT


TRAVEL CONSULTANT Kaylee Starkey


I regularly speak to clients who want to visit New Zealand as it is popular.


A fly-drive or tour is the best way to make the most of your time there. I haven’t been with Trailfinders for long, but the training I have had on product and destinations since starting here has been extensive.


Trailfinders CENTRE:MK, 19 EAGLE WALK


IMPRESSIONS: The store was clean and bright and the staff looked presentable. The windows were largely clear so you could see inside. Shoppers could pick up leaflets that were on display outside.


SERVICE: The store was not busy so I spoke to an agent straightaway. They asked me some questions about my requirements and talked about the itinerary they suggested. The agent gave me her undivided attention and was quite enthusiastic about the tour. I was not offered any additional products.


QUOTES: My only quote was for a 21-day holiday with AAT Kings, with flights on Hong Kong Airlines from Heathrow, via Hong Kong, in January 2020. We would arrive in Christchurch and have a tour there, before moving on to Omarama, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Punakaiki, Nelson, Wellington, Napier, Rotorua, Auckland and the Bay of Islands. It included an overnight cruise or a daytime cruise on Milford Sound, the chance to learn about the Maori culture, and options for extra excursions such as a jet boat ride or helicopter tour. The total cost would be £10,964.


SCORING SYSTEM


10% Appearance/first impressions 25% Customer service 25% Advice and product knowledge 25% Holiday details 15% Overall experience


OVERALL: The service was good and the agent was helpful, but I would have preferred a second quote to consider and compare.


78% 42 24 OCTOBER 2019 travelweekly.co.uk


THIS WEEK’S WINNER


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