Grand finale or damp squib?

When my husband and I are on holiday we normally like to do something special and memorable on our last night. Our recent Norwegian Cruise was no exception. As you’d expect, dinner was included and each evening there been a set time for dinner, sharing a table with other passengers. It was good to catch up over dinner and hear of everybody’s adventures of the day.

So we were all set for our last evening to have some fun, reflect on our trip and end our holiday with a grand finale.

What we got instead was a boring, lonely and flat evening.

Rather than make the most of this opportunity the restaurant had decided to change the format for the evening and laid on a buffet. And rather than having a set time as on previous evenings the buffet was served over a 2½ hour window. We hadn’t seen our dining companions all day so opted to go in at our normal dinner time in the hope that they would have done the same. Instead when we arrived at the restaurant it was deserted; it seemed that virtually every other passenger had already come and gone. There were a few other stragglers like us but in the large restaurant, sat at our assigned tables we were scattered around all four corners of the restaurant. The result was no atmosphere and a feeling of isolation. Not conducive to a relaxed evening.

And because of the lack of other diners we felt that the restaurant staff had lost interest; it was over 15 minutes just to get a drink. The buffet table itself although there was an extensive range had been picked over and we felt we were just getting the remains; it seemed as if nothing fresh had been bought out in the last hour.

The end result was a less than favourable last impression. And a missed opportunity as the last thing we felt like doing was sitting over a few extra glasses of wine (hmm, come to think of it I don’t think we were even offered the wine list…). We just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible!

What do you do to create a grand finale for your customers?

  • Save some of the highlights until the end of the day or event. As well as making it memorable for your customers it gives a more natural close to the occasion, but keeps people interested (and potentially spending) right until the end.
  • Recognising there will be a time in the day or evening when you need to start preparing for the next day e.g. laying up for breakfast, entice people into another area e.g. into the lounge for their coffee (opposed to making people feel uncomfortable and forced to leave).
  • Ensuring everything is still available right to then end of their visit.
  • Present a gift, memento or a (pleasant) surprise at the end of their stay or visit “I heard what you said earlier and thought you might like this…..” Anything that is unexpected and adds a personal touch.
  • Ask for feedback in a way that shows you are genuinely interested and value their opinion and comments.
  • Don’t leave people hanging on when they are ready to leave – queues at the cloakroom, delays in getting their bill or settling up, bottlenecks in the car park, long queues at the toilets.
  • Ensure the last thing your customers see is a friendly smiling face….
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