Warning: spoilers ahead
We’re straight on location at Penrhyn Castle, a key landmark in northern Wales.
The candidates have already been briefed on this week’s guided tour task. The tricksy curveball is that, if customers aren’t satisfied with the tour, they can ask for a refund and lower our teams’ profits.
Teams and tours
Team Infinity + Karren: Kathryn (project manager), Amy, Aaron, Harpreet and Akeem.
Team Diverse + Tim: Stephanie (project manager), Nick, Brittany, Sophie and Akshay
Amy ducks out of taking up the position of project manager at the earliest opportunity. So, because Stephanie is project manager on the other team, Amy’s the only one who hasn’t yet assumed the role. This leaves Kathryn to be PM for the second time.
The decision on the other team is incomparably breezy. Steph says she has hospitality experience and the team say yeah.
Now, to select the tours. Diverse opt for a Highland railway tour with a watercolour painting masterclass and whisky tasting. Price: £75 per person (£65 if the salespeople are struggling).
Infinity have gone for ziplining, a slate mine tour and cheese tasting. Price: £75 per person (£65 if they’re struggling).
The negotiating game
Kathryn, Harpreet and Akeem go and negotiate with the tour operator, with Kathryn insisting on taking the lead and Harpreet reminding the team not to offend him. The tour operator states the RRP of £85. Kathryn plunges right down to £40. Let’s see how that goes.
The operator’s annoyance is palpable: ‘I’d ask you to walk down those steps, stop insulting me and come back up.’ He suggests £65 and they agree on £62. To factor in the higher-than-expected price, the negotiating trio are forced to push the ticket price up to £90.
Meanwhile in Snowdonia, Steph, Nick and Brittany adopt a similar tactic. The rep starts with £55, Nick suggests £40. She comes in at £45. And it’s going, going, gone at £47.50.
At the whisky negotiation, the whisky owner answers Akshay and Sophie by saying they can expect one per cent commission on sales. Bar owner Sophie sets out her terms and asks for 25 per cent, but what number will he follow with – 20? 23? Six per cent, says the whisky man. They manage to push past six per cent up to the heady highs of seven per cent. ‘The look on their face says it all’, says Tim. ‘They shouldn’t have asked for an offer first.’
Nick leads the railway tour in a way that’s oddly peppy and flat at the same time. He hails ‘beautiful agricultural views’ before the camera pans to lacklustre sheep and tractor scenes. Tim describes it as being so bad it’s good. ‘Being a tour guide is not his forte,’ he laughs.
Harpreet and Kathryn try to drum up the same excitement over at the zipline. ‘Shane Ritchie [from EastEnders] has been on this zipline.’ A crowd of forced wows respond like they’ve been shown a four-year-old’s self-choreographed dance routine.
The guests crash back to reality as Akeem leads a depressing slate mine tour. Misbehaving miners ate alone, we’re told. But Akeem doesn’t know what they ate. Kathryn and Harpreet try and save him by coming in with ‘bread and soup’. Who knows if this is true? Cans of Baxter’s Potato & Leek have turned up in weirder places.
Over at the whisky tasting session, Sophie is flexing her boozy knowledge but Akshay worries the session will be too dry. Well, a guy is asleep. Nick, meanwhile, continues to give new meaning to the ‘See it. Say it. Sorted.’ railway slogan with his very literal and methodical approach to tour guiding. ‘Rocky, very very adventurous,’ he says while pointing at something rocky. Amy’s gone somewhat more… sensual (?) with her cheese tasting presentation: ‘Cheese is to be looked at and smelled. It’s like a multi-sensory experience between the smelling and tasting and the letting it dissolve in your mouth.’
Another selling frenzy featuring cheese and whisky ensues in the last hour. It’s all optimistic until Team Diverse realise they’ve neglected one thing: the tip jar.
This boardroom session is going to be a tough one because nobody has particularly excelled in the challenge. Plus, there’s the small matter of possible refunds.
Lord Sugar says that Sophie and Akshay could have been like a Punch and Judy show on the waterfront because they hate each other so much. But in a real gut punch, Karren reveals that Team Infinity’s tour operator would have given them the tour at £50 a head had they pushed, exposing a weakness in Kathryn’s negotiating team.
It’s Steph who looks uneasy as her rivals speak, however – have Team Diverse blown it? Let’s find out with those final tallies.
I need a whiff of offensive Stilton to bring me round. I can’t believe Diverse won – I thought with the whisky negotiation and the tip jar incident that they would’ve lost.
To celebrate their victory (and Akshay’s first win of the series!) the team head to the Royal Suite at the Corinthia Hotel for some champagne. It’s not just Akshay’s first win – it’s Harpreet’s first loss over at La Cabana Cafe, where a war of salespeople vs negotiators is being waged. Aaron and Amy are the casualties, returning to the boardroom with Kathryn.
By avoiding the firing line she’s found herself right in it. Amy is asked to leave.
Next week: Pods
The teams will be tasked with designing, branding and pitching their own electric driverless POD vehicles. Join us next time for the recap.