Agencies battle to win the top agent crown

Agencies battle to win the top agent crown
By admin


Mystery Shopper and a friend would like to travel around China for two weeks. They would like to visit Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Chengdu in particular, and are looking for the best tour options that offer some flexibility and free time. They would like additional information about the sorts of activities they can enjoy in each city and advice on some good places to eat. Their budget is $10,000 in total.


TOP AGENT: Benjamin Scott, Flight Centre, Beach St, Frankston, Vic

When I entered the agency Benjamin looked up and smiled, asking how he could be of assistance. I told him I wanted information on travelling to China. Benjamin invited me to take a seat and asked me if I had ever travelled there before. I told him I hadn't and he suggested I should consider a tour. He explained that it was a big country and the language barrier made it difficult to travel independently. I told him I was happy to take a tour as long as it was not too rigid and if offered some flexibility. I mentioned that I wanted to see Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Shanghai. Benjamin then went on to tell me about activities and landmarks in each of these cities. It was suggested we go later than February as it was very cold and wet at that time. A Wendy Wu China brochure was brought over and I was told that the company offered the best tours in China. The Majestic Yangtze tour was suggested; he said that a river cruise made the difference between a good holiday and an amazing holiday. He also suggested the Glories of China tour, which included trips to regional areas. Benjamin then spoke about Guilin and Hangzhou and the surrounding regions, showing me pictures on his computer. I asked about the food in China and he told me the main courses were usually very good but the entrees were often made from strange ingredients and were not always appetising to Western tastes. He said that with the Wendy Wu tours the food was included so I wouldn't have to worry as much. Benjamin said he would quote me on two tours as both were within my budget. He then printed me off a quote, including airfares, which he placed inside the Wendy Wu brochure and handed to me. I was given a business card and invited to call him if I had any questions.


How long have you worked as a travel agent? Three years.

How long have you worked at your present agency? Just one month.

What's your favourite destination to sell and why? I like selling Tahiti, preferably all inclusive packages to the St Regis.

If you could book yourself a holiday right now (money is no object) where would it be and why? I'd probably visit Liechtenstein with a couple of close friends. I have always wanted to hire an entire country for the night.

What destination do you sell the most of? It is a toss up between Bali and Thailand. South East Asia dominates our market.

What's the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you while travelling? Being the last person to leave a pub on a river in the middle of the jungle in Laos. I was really embarrassed when I realised it was a six kilometre swim home in the dark or a 30km walk. I opted for the swim.

Which four famous people (dead or alive) would you invite to a dinner party? Cleopatra, Richard Branson, Dynamo the Magician and Jesus.

Who is your dream travel partner? Princess Zara Phillips.

What is the strangest place you have ever travelled to? Kashmir during Ramadan. Music filled the streets and everywhere you looked there was a backdrop of the Himalayas. It was like a cross between Turkey and Nepal.

If you were stranded on a desert island and only allowed one item, what would it be? An iPhone.

SECOND PLACE: 73% Jetset Travel, Olsen St, Frankston, Vic

The agent smiled as I entered and offered assistance. I said I was after information about travelling to China. I was offered a seat and I explained that I wished to travel to Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Shanghai and wanted information about activities including dining in each city. I said we were planning to go in February and the agent suggested we visit in April or later, as it was very cold in February. When asked if we wanted a tour or to travel independently, I explained that a tour would be fine as long as there was some flexibility. I was handed Peregrine Adventures and Travel Indochina brochures. Flicking through them with me, the agent said there were a few tours going to the four locations I had mentioned, including the China Culinary Journey offered by Travel Indochina. We established that I required four-star accommodation and that I had no airline preference. The agent offered to put a quote together for me, which was received via email the same day. I received a follow up call a few days later.

THIRD PLACE: 63% Harvey World Travel, Wells St, Frankston, Victoria

After entering and being greeted, I explained that I was after information on travelling to China. The agent then asked whether I wanted to travel independently or take a tour. I said that a flexible tour would work fine and that I was hoping to visit Beijing, Xian, Chengdu and Shanghai. The agent retrieved Wendy Wu Tours and Harvey's Choice Holidays Hong Kong and China brochures and started looking through them. They recommended the China Splendour and Majestic Yangtze trips. While waiting on the phone with a tour operator the agent said they could arrange an independent tour for me, which might be more suitable, and would incorporate the cities I wished to travel to. I asked if they could provide me with information about activities in each city and good places to eat. My contact details were requested and I was told they would put together a quote and email it to me. I received an email quote the next day based on the different tour options. 

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