IT HAS been open for less than a year, but a travel agent in Southsea is already flying high.
SouthseaTravel@21, which opened last April, was mystery-shopped by an industry magazine and beat the competition in the city to win.
Owner Lesley Reeves said the win was down to the staff’s knowledge of the destinations the company offers, and their commitment to offering something different.
She said: ‘We go out to a lot of properties, different destinations.
‘It was actually my colleague Lin Hackett who won the award as she was the one who dealt with the secret shopper, so we’re very pleased with her.’
The mystery shop was carried out by the Travel Trade Gazette, which focuses on travel agents in one particular area of the country at a time.
Mrs Reeves said: ‘There are two trade papers which cover the travel sector, and both papers have mystery shoppers who go out every week around the country doing spot checks and going in with detailed enquiries.
‘They featured ourselves and Travelplanners and two other companies in the area, and we came top – and we’ve only been open a year.’
Mrs Reeves said it was providing customers with quirky touches, such as a chaise longue within the shop, and an honesty library, where customers can borrow travel books, which makes all the difference.
She said: ‘The shop is very different, and we feel that life’s too short to be boring, and going into the shop should be part of the fun of going on holiday.’
She added: ‘We’re trying to get back to personal service.
‘We had a customer recently who booked a holiday to Russia online, but who hadn’t realised the visa would cost £120 a head. That’s knowledge we would have been able to give.’