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We're all going on a..summer holiday!!
Member Name: emmachilcott
Date: 30/09/09, updated on 01/10/09 (145 review reads)
Advantages: Reliable reps full of advice
Disadvantages: Overselling of products
After hours of flicking through travel brochures and searching the internet for late deals, I finally came across a holiday location that I thought would suit us for a week's break in September, and would definitely suit our budget. Thomas Cook offered the holiday of our choice, and after taking out all of the extra costs (flight meals, extra baggage etc..) I came up with a good price, but being the tight individual, and on MSE's advice, I phoned the agent to try to haggle the price down.
After only selecting one option ("Press 2 to discuss a new holiday") which I consider a miracle, I was connected to a lovely advisor within seconds. Unfortunately she tried her best, but couldn't get the holiday price down any further;she offered me the web price so I decided to go for it. She gave me an honest report of the resort, which tallied exactly with the reviews that I had read, and I gave her my credit card number! After ensuring that all of my questions were answered, I ended the call and two days later confirmation of the holiday came in the post.
Another week later (two weeks before departure), and the tickets arrived with some useful travel literature. It was all obvious stuff and basic, but nice to have for reassurance all the same. Thomas Cook no longer provide luggage labels as they claim that their own stickers suffice, I was a bit dubious of this, but I'm happy to report that all of our luggage arrived!
As soon as we got off the plane, we were greeted by a Thomas Cook representative who pointed us in the direction of our transfer coach. "Go through the doors, head for coach 521" she says, smiling happily. When we walked through the doors, expecting to see coach 521, we were greeted by around fifty coaches that were parked in no numerical order, but eventually we located the right one, and after a couple of minutes we were headed towards our destination. The journey was a pleasant one, the Thomas Cook rep on board gave us a guided tour and pointed out any items of interest. He also told us a lot of information about the hotel, so when we arrived we didn't feel like complete newbies! He also gave us a time and location for the morning Welcome Meeting.
I always view welcome meetings with trepidation. You are generally given the basic information about the hotel and the surrounding area which is useful, but then precious sunbathing time is taken up whilst they try to sell you over priced excursions - and this happened here!! The meeting went on for about 45 minutes, and we all got a glass of Sangria/orange juice to see us through the selling. I must admit that it was fairly entertaining, and the information was delivered in a very professional yet enjoyable manner. One thing that was mentioned at the meeting was whether we had pre-booked seats or not. We were told that even though we might have been lucky to sit together on the way out, on the way back we probably wouldn't be, and it wasn't too late to book seats at a cost of £12 per person. This frightened me a little as we hadn't booked our seats, but when we checked in for the return journey, we were allocated exactly the same seats, and we were surrounded by exactly the same people!! No need to frighten us after all.
Throughout our holiday, there was generally a rep on site (two were allocated to our hotel) and if they were not at the desk in reception, there would be a note telling you when they would be back, and where they were. Fortunately, we had no cause to contact a rep during our stay, but it was nice to know that they were about. In the evenings, even on their days off, they would often be found in the entertainment area, joining in with the rest of us!
On our departure day, the time of our transfer coach was clearly displayed on the board, and we were counted on to the coach. The rep that day hopped onto the coach and explained that he wouldn't be coming with us to the airport, but told us just to look at the board for our check-in desk. Again, check in on our return journey was hassle free, and that was our last dealing with Thomas Cook.
Thomas Cook is an umbrella company for the likes of Direct holidays and Panorama, and since we had booked with both of these companies previously, this was our fourth dealing with Thomas Cook reps. I have never had any difficulties with the company, and their reps all appear to be knowledgeable, professional, friendly and approachable. The service that they deliver whilst in the accommodation leaves me with confidence; however I am not that keen on the overselling of their excursions, but I appreciate that they have targets to meet, and you get this with most travel companies, even so, they have to lose half a star for this, and another half for the scare tactics over the plane seats!!
Summary: I've never had cause to complain
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