The week of the Norfolk Island Country Music Festival is the biggest promotion of the year for the locals – and it follows that it is also the biggest opportunity for local businesses to make money.
Most of the visitors for that week arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, so when Monday comes around most of the visitors are itching to pound the footpaths and spend some money shopping once they finished their half day island tour. So why would around 40% of the shops be closed for lunch?
I have only ever seen this before in Scotland and some parts of England where it has been customary for years. This is not custom. The Norfolk custom is that Wednesday afternoons and Sundays the shops are closed. The lunchtime closing is something new that has crept in over the last year – and we found later in the week that it happens every day now. Closed for lunch? What a lot of nonsense, and because most tourists are taking half day tours either in the morning or afternoon, the biggest opportunity of the year could be lost.
Contrast that with two other examples.
Our half day tour of the island always includes a stop off at the beautiful and unique St Barnaby’s Chapel, where the wood paneling, stained glass and unique structure of the church creates a lasting impression. One of the tour bus drivers gives a five minute presentation about the church – but he doesn’t stop there. He points out the various souvenirs and publications which are for sale and makes a great show of kidding people that they won’t be let out of the building until they place a donation in the box. So now the tourists know where the donation box is and most of them either buy something or donate to the church.
Poppies Restaurant at the Norfolk Island RSL Club is another great example. When we booked for dinner, we asked for a dedicated table for our group. Restaurant manager Liz not only obliged, she reorganized the tables so that we had an A class view of the entertainment. In addition, she came to us after our meal to make sure everything had been OK. The result? The group returned for two more meals later in the week.
So, two examples of making the most of their opportunities while others risked losing sales for the sake of a lunch break. Which businesses would make more money? – because that’s what we are all in it for.