Can I really get a free cruise as a mystery shopper?
I got an email saying that I can get a free cruise as a mystery shopper. What is a mystery shopper and can I really get a free cruise? I gotta say I'm darn skeptical...
Mystery shoppers are hired by businesses to evaluate their customer service, quality and cleanliness. They go in to businesses and act like regular customers while secretly observing things about the business and employees. For example, shoppers might be asked to note how long before they were greeted, if the rest rooms were clean, how many check out lanes were open, if the salesperson said thank you, etc. Shoppers may be reimbursed for a purchase and/or receive a fee.
Mystery shopping is used by many kinds of businesses, including stores, restaurants, banks, apartment complexes and more. So do cruise lines use mystery shoppers, and how can you get a free cruise?
First the bad news: There are very few (if any) cruise shops available. Cathy Stucker, author of the darn useful book The Mystery Shopper's Manual, says that the many mystery shopping company owners she has asked have never seen one. Her warning: do not hand over your credit card information to someone dangling the promise of a cruise or resort shop in front of you.
According to Cathy, cruise shops are like Bigfoot: Lots of people have heard tales of them, but no one has actually seen one themselves. However, there are many very desirable high-end shops, including resorts, casinos and spas, that offer reimbursement for travel, accommodations and other benefits, and sometimes a significant fee.
So how can you get high-end hotel, resort, casino, spa and (maybe) cruise shops? Mystery shopping companies choose shoppers who will do everything required (and these types of shops can be complicated) and will turn in a detailed, well-written report. They can not take the chance that the shopper will do a less than outstanding job. That means that they will choose a shopper who has worked for them many times, has always done their assignments on time, follows all shop guidelines, and has the writing skills needed for the detailed narratives often required for these shops.
If you want to be considered for these high-end shops, sign up with several mystery shopping companies, take any assignments available in your area to get started, and show that you are a good, reliable mystery shopper. You will then have the opportunity to do more, better-paying shops. You can find a list of more than 100 legitimate mystery shopping companies, along with lots of information to make you a successful professional shopper in The Mystery Shopper's Manual.
Also, do check out my previous article on mystery shopping too: Can I really make money as a mystery shopper?
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