When I was approached at Alicante airport last summer by a clip-board wielding man offering me the chance to win a free holiday, I assumed it was just another gimmick – an empty promise, at the end of giving away all my personal details, that would lead to being pestered by cold calls. No thanks.
But my flight was delayed and he was persistent – he said he was from a reputable travel centre called CLC World – and that it would only take two minutes of my time with no need to give away personal information including my address or date of birth. Just my phone number was required, which would be used to tell me if I’d won or if I qualified for another free promotion – nothing else. So I answered a few generic questions about the kind of family trips we take and thought nothing more of it. I didn’t dare dream of sun loungers and cocktails on a complimentary sojourn in sunny Spain.
Two months later, one afternoon, I received a call from a friendly lady telling me I hadn’t won the main prize, but I had qualified for a free holiday! Still I was sceptical. There were a few more questions about my age and income bracket, and my husband and I were invited to attend a preview session of their offerings at their offices in central London in a couple of weeks time. I was offered £75 of high street vouchers for the effort of attending. It seemed worth it for the vouchers alone. But all still seemed too good to be true.
We arrived to find a host of other couples in reception, all there to hear the same promotional pitch about company, which is rather unknown as a brand, but is one of Europe's largest independent resort operators and developers, with resorts in locations all around the world – from the Costa Del Sol to Orlando. During the presentation we learned about their latest offers and a trial vacation membership scheme, giving you access to 50 resorts over a period of 3 years, which sounded rather appealing.
And at the end of it? We were truly tempted to take the membership but for reasons probably known to most (travel journalist) it just wasn’t right for us. However we still received the department store vouchers plus the 7 nights free accommodation in their sun-drenched, super-stylish Costa del Sol resort.
My family and I are off there this June, and I’ll be reporting back with a review of the CLC World Travel Centre free holiday promotion on hellomagazine.com.
So if you’re approached by a sales person from CLC World remember: there IS such a thing as a free holiday. And you may just want to book another with them...