Horrors' and help in city's travel agents

PUBLISHED: 12:55 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 13:30 04 May 2010

Sue Steel, Laura Pinney, Nancy Foster and Michelle Thompson

Sue Steel, Laura Pinney, Nancy Foster and Michelle Thompson

ELY travel agent Thomson has been labelled a Shop of Horrors for its performance in a quality rating contest. The shop, in Market Place, was visited by a mystery shopper and judged on five criteria, including staff attitude and sales technique. But

ELY travel agent Thomson has been labelled a "Shop of Horrors" for its performance in a quality rating contest.

The shop, in Market Place, was visited by a "mystery shopper" and judged on five criteria, including staff attitude and sales technique.

But it only managed to notch up a disappointing 29 per cent compared with almost double the scores given to its competitors.

The mystery shopper called into the city's four travel agents to award up to 25 points under criteria which also included brochure racking, agency appearance and product knowledge.

Consultants were told by the mystery shopper that they were looking for a twin-centre holiday combining Athens with a mainland Greek resort in the contest run by travel trade magazine Travel Weekly.

But when the mystery shopper called into Thomson, although a consultant was on hand to offer immediate help, she seemed "doubtful" when she heard the request.

She checked her system but said Thomson didn't sell holidays for the only operator featuring the Greek mainland.

"This shop had a good corner location, but that's the best that can be said of it," said the mystery shopper. "There were so many gaps in the racks I wanted to suggest the staff popped over the road to Premier to borrow a few of their brochures to make the place look better."

Premier Travel on Forehill came out on top in the contest, clocking up 61 per cent and won a certificate of commendation.

Asked about booking the Greek holiday, a consultant suggested mystery shopper take the brochure, choose a couple of hotels and she would work out a price for the entire package.

Thomas Cook in Market Street took second place in the contest scoring 60 per cent and First Choice in the High Street was awarded 50 per cent.

A spokesman for Thomson said: "The quality of feedback from customers is very high. We know the team is very good and it would be unfair to judge them on one person's experience. This shop performs well and there is a good level of repeat bookings.

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