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WANTED Two friends in their 30s are looking for a two-week holiday


exploring Thailand. They would like to experience city life, relax on a beach and go sightseeing. They want information about flights, departure times and airlines, as well as general advice about long-haul holidays. They know a bit about Thailand from friends and TV, but have never visited before. BUDGET: £5,000


THE VERDICT


Virgin Holidays and Kuoni both demonstrated excellent customer service and product knowledge. The Virgin Holidays agent edged it because of the hotel options but the shopper would have been happy to book either. Tui suggested suitable options, and was the only agent to offer more than one quote, but the experience was not as good. There was room in the budget for all agents to offer longer holidays, escorted tour options or upgrades.


WINNING AGENT


PERSONAL HOLIDAYS ADVISOR beth gray


I’ve never been to Thailand but I’ve done a lot of research on the country,


as it looks beautiful. I have also been on destination training days. We get a lot of enquiries about Thailand, as it offers so much – culture in Bangkok, as well as beaches and islands.


SCORING SYSTEM


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


virgin holidays DEBENHAMS, BULLRING SHOPPING CENTRE


IMPRESSIONS: The agency is a concession inside Debenhams, with a clean look and employees in red and white uniforms.


SERVICE: I was acknowledged immediately and invited to talk about options. We looked at where the hotels were located, what we could do and distances to the main attractions. We chose a vibrant hotel in Bangkok and a more relaxing one in Phuket. The agent was determined to find the best hotels and packages. Her infectious enthusiasm made me feel like packing my bags and going there and then. She suggested making the booking on the spot, saying prices can fluctuate. The agent gave me her email address and phone number, and contacted me the following day.


QUOTES: I was quoted for a Virgin Holidays package in June, flying with Emirates from Birmingham, via Dubai. I was quoted £3,732 for three nights at the Aloft Bangkok followed by seven nights at the Centara Grand Beach, in Phuket. The agent said this would enable us to explore the city and beaches, with tours of temples and islands available, which could be booked by the agent or in resort.


OVERALL: The agent was focused, keen and knowledgeable, and although she provided only one quote, it fitted the mystery shopper’s criteria.


89% 46 27 JUNE 2019 travelweekly.co.uk


THIS WEEK’S WINNER


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