Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marsa Alam Red Sea Holiday 2008 USA,

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The mystery shopper visited two agencies in Horsforth, Leeds, on a Friday afternoon, then selected a professional-looking sponsored link from an internet search for "Egypt, Red Sea holidays", and a company advertising on Teletext

This week's challenge: The mystery shopper asked for seven nights for two adults travelling to the Red Sea area of Egypt in January 2009. The couple were on a tight budget, but were looking for a four-star hotel with a decent pool


Budget: #875 Where: Egypt

Seal the deal with these tips from Training for Travel

Game over: Sports enthusiasts don't need to miss out on the latest match results. British bar Boxers in El Gouna televises games. It also serves excellent food at very reasonable prices.

Peace: Avoid Egypt's hustle and bustle with a boat trip to tranquil Giftun Island. Suggest a visit to Paradise Beach and Mahmaya Beach for sunbathing, snorkelling or even diving.

Climbing: Energetic types will enjoy an expedition to climb Sinai mountain in the middle of the night to watch the sun rise. Recommend packing several layers, as it can get cold at night.

To market: Tell clients to head for the old market in Sharm el Sheikh just before dusk, when the heat isn't too intense. Good bartering can bring prices down by 30% on oils, spices and rugs.

This week's contenders: high street v internet v teletext

Althams Travel 28 Town Street

This was a colourful branch with a neat interior. The consultant gave me a warm welcome and asked detailed questions about my trip. They recommended a location that previous customers had enjoyed. I was shown various options in different brochures. A complex in a First Choice brochure was suggested because, although slightly over budget, it offered the cheapest deal. I was disappointed that no extras were mentioned, nor was I encouraged to make a booking.

Co-op Travel 19 Town Street

I was impressed by the shop's window display and that there were plenty of staff to assist customers. I was greeted by an enthusiastic consultant, who gave me three brochures to look at. They also showed me online reviews of the resort and hotel that they suggested, and pointed out an outdoor swimming pool. Car parking and insurance were mentioned as extras, and I was given the choice of B&B or all-inclusive accommodation. With add-ons, the price still came under budget.

Freedom Direct

The website was straightforward to navigate, with accommodation and flight options, as well as contact details, at the top of the page. Once basic information had been keyed in, the site offered several hotel options and allowed me to choose a flight. I was offered all- inclusive and B&B deals, while prices were shown for add-ons such as transfers. Small pictures and uncomprehensive reviews were provided about the hotel. The price was within my budget.

Media Travel Teletext

I opted for this company because its teletext page was clear and well designed compared with similar operators. I phoned a consultant who asked a few questions and then suggested a Red Sea hotel which they said had an excellent pool and was close to shopping areas and nightlife. The price was well within budget and I was offered free transfers if I booked that day. However, I found their sales manner to be rather pushy and this would have put me off booking.

This week's winner: Co-op Travel

While Althams Travel offered excellent customer service and the website and Teletext also matched my needs, I would have given my booking to Co- op Travel. I felt Kayleigh went the extra mile to talk me through the various options, and she seemed very knowledgeable about the resort. The price she quoted was also the most competitive of all the four. I was offered seven nights' B&B for two people at the Maritim Royal Peninsula Resort in Sharm el Sheikh. The First Choice package, which included airport parking, insurance and flights departing Manchester on January 7, came to #838.

Copyright: CMP Information Ltd.

Source Citation
"Mystery Shopper from Horsforth." Travel Trade Gazette UK & Ireland (2008): 32. InfoTrac Small Business eCollection. Web. 29 July 2010.
Document URL

Gale Document Number:A190682510

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