Secret Shopper FAQ

We have gotten many questions on the Secret Shopper Program, so here is a little FAQ blog on the program.

What is Apple Vacations’ Secret Shopper program?

At Apple Vacations, we pride ourselves on outstanding service and product.  While we use Vacation Satisfaction Questionnaires as our standard in customer feedback, we now want to take it to another level. We are looking for Secret Shoppers, actual participants that consist of past, present, and future customers, who will report on their complete vacation experience.

Airlines, hotels, excursion operators and rental car companies all know that Apple Vacations is serious about the quality of its product and services. Unbiased consumer feedback will be brought to the attention of these partners to help maintain their quality control.

Can I be a Secret Shopper?
The application window for 2010/2011 Secret Shoppers is currently closed.  Keep an eye out on Facebook and twitter — when the program opens again later this year, we’ll announce it there.

What will I have to do if I am chosen?
First, Apple Vacations will ask you to be part of one of our Consumer Panels. The Consumer Panel is set up to get instantaneous feedback on many topics that affect Apple Vacations and the industry. In order to be eligible to be a Secret Shopper, you must a member of one of our consumer panels.

Based on your responses to the questions on the Consumer Panel, we may ask you to be one of our Secret Shoppers.  Example, if we are looking for feedback on, say, romantic getaways from Chicago-area newlyweds, or adventure travel from Farsi-speaking New Yorkers, the consumer panels will help us identify the secret shoppers for that specific mission.  Sometimes we will be looking for repeat Apple Vacationers or we may be looking for first-time travelers — your honest answers to our panel questions are key.

What will I get for being part of the Consumer Panel?
In addition to being considered to be a Secret Shopper, panelists will receive special discounts, coupons and promo codes.

Where will you post this round of Secret Shoppers?
We won’t (“secret”, remember?).  We’ll be notifying Secret Shoppers individually.

How many Secret Shoppers will be chosen?
Apple Vacations plans to recruit 24 Secret Shoppers in a 12-month period, beginning Sept 2010.

What will I have to do if I am a Secret Shopper?
Secret Shoppers will keep a travel diary and honestly assess various elements of their vacation experience as determined by Apple Vacations.  Most importantly, you can’t tell *anyone* that you have been picked as a Secret Shopper — the key to this program working is your anonymity while traveling so you can give us honest feedback.  We will remove you from the program if you blab.  Facebook, we’re looking in your general direction.

33 thoughts on “Secret Shopper FAQ

  1. What are the benefits to being a secret shopper? Is it a reimbursement process or are special discounts given to secret shoppers?

  2. I am very interested in being a secret shopper for I would like to report on how different hotels,resorts,car rentals and etc. have considered we seniors when traveling …our age group now controls the most money available for travel and are willing to spend it if the value is there. We have grown up watching our dollars and have been raised during the War years and do remember hard times. Look close at our needs a Apple will grow. Richard Kalsey

  3. In the email I received about participating in the Apple Vacations Consumer Panel, it stated that we would receive special travel rates, discounts, etc. How does this work?

  4. I am surprised by your advertising and procedures for the secret shopper program. I am a loyal Apple user, and have booked groups of people for professional seminars with Apple. My expectation is that Apple is one of the most honest credible travel agencies in the World. I have twice testified in fraudulent traveler scams (Minnesota, California) and I have used Apple as a comparative example of doing things right. However, the secret traveler program is, from my experience with i, not consistent with the standards applied in other segments of the company. It appears to have bait and switch advertising (become a secret shopper, write travel reviews, and travel at a discount for us) becomes, you have been selected to fill out some questionnaires and we will give you, at some undetermined time, some coupons for an unspecified amount. We are selecting a limited few for this program (Facebook is full of people who were contacted and advertising that they were on your panel). Finally, there has been no follow-through even on the survey portion. I plan on kicking this up the ladder to management, but what gives? Why are you so falling so below your expections with this program? I would have loved to have been a secret shopper. I was very excited when I thought I had been accepted. I write reviews professionally. I travel constantly. But those areas weren’t in the qualifications segment of your application, and I’m in the group that may get the “special” privilege of filling out a survey.I don’t understand what you were trying to accomplish, but you have generated some disappointment from a formerly very contented customer.

  5. Hi Frank. I am sorry you feel this way. Apple Vacations has created a fun program which we are launching and as you know we are creating panels and selecting secret shoppers. We have some great discounts in the works which will be sent out soon. And ALL inquiries to eletters@applevac.com have been responded to. If you have ANY questions please feel free to contact us directly.

  6. I was welcomed as a member of the Apple Vacations Consumer Panel on 9/17/2010.
    Since then, I have not heard from AppleVacations.

    I would like to get started on any requested survey s and also would like to know what percentage trip discount is for employees. I plan on taking a trip in the near future.

    Please reply – thanks Ron

  7. I also received notification that I was an Apples Vacation Consumer Panelist on 9/17/2010. Since then, I have received no further communication. I am still interested and wondered what it involved. I read the other entries and understand that there are only a select few to be secret shoppers. Please respond or let me know who to contact. Thanks Lee

  8. I am also disappointed…..I have in the past written letters and reviews to Apple about our trips just to be helpful, so when I was accepted to be an official Consumer Panelist I was very excited. We kept putting off booking our trip hoping and waiting for further information….. but finally booked it last night as to not lose the trip that we were interested in. We would have been willing to go wherever Apple wanted us to go as a Secret Shopper. But, now we booked our choice and booked it without any supposed discounts that were mentioned as a benefit of being on the panel. That was a LOSE-LOSE situation when it could have been a WIN-WIN for both Apple and myself. Very disappointed.

  9. I see I am not the only one who hasn’t hear back from Apple. The last email I received was also on 9/17 and no one has responded back to my inquiry.

    This is a bit confusing and a contradiction on how AV typically operates.

  10. I have tried to send a letter to eletters@applevac.com, but it says my email address/password is incorrect. This is the correct email address. Please respond & let me know if I will receive the surveys, etc. Thank you.

  11. Perhaps we should all be patient. As stated in the FAQs above, “Apple Vacations plans to recruit 24 Secret Shoppers in a 12-month period, beginning Sept 2010.”

    Perhaps Apple is selecting only 2 people each month?? This would mean if they began choosing during the latter part of September, they may have only chosen 6 people to this point. That leaves another 18 to be selected. Perhaps they are selecting individuals another way. Who knows?

    In any event, I initially thought we would be hearing faster but, I am sure there are innumerable factors which we are not aware of.

    I still am excited about the prospect, especially now that I am retired and have the time to travel.

  12. The complaint I have is that we were sent emails saying we would receive Apple employee pricing and other discount for being part of the panel and this hasn’t happened.

    I have a funny feeling that someone at Apple overpromised or overstepped their authority and now Apple just wants this to go away.

  13. I want to plan a trip in the near future and it would be nice to know if I can get any deals to places because of the Secret Shopper program. It has been a really long time and I did not recieve any emails about specials deals or anything. If this is how the secret shopper program works then it almost seems pointless…

  14. Hi! Anyone who was selected, and has filled out the 2 surveys sent to them, has been sent a promo code to use. Please keep in mind we rec’d thousands of applicants. If you were notified that you were selected and have not received anything please reply back to the E-Mail you were sent at eletters@applevac.com. So they can check on it for you. But the program is moving along.

  15. I did receive a reply that promo codes will be sent once 2 surveys have been completed – has anyone received a survey to complete?

  16. I guess I’m one of the many that filled out the first survey in September and heard nothing since. It would be nice if a follow up email were to go out after we had filled out the survey, at least to acknowledge a thanks for filling it out, and what was to happen next.

  17. Hello. I have filled out my 2 surveys and I was told that my discount will be sent to me via email. How long does that take?? Im very excited to book a vacation and want to take advantage of a discount

  18. I have filled out 2 surveys and am also waiting for any info, I am ready to book a trip and would like to stay with Apple but am somewhat dismayed by lack of response.. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

  19. I am very interested in doing a Secret Shopper projam For Apple Vacation. Is there one avalible now in 2011 or sometime soon ?

    Michael Hopkins

  20. I very done surveys in the past and now I would like to take a vacation. Can I get a discount for my vacation.

    Thanks,
    Gloria

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