They colour the way we think about people, places, experiences. But do they encourage people to share on social media, to remember, to pass on recommendations to others?
I don't think we place enough importance on last impressions. And yet they last. What we do before we wave a cheery goodbye may be the most important factor in getting someone to come back again or recommend to others.
Is there anything you do to reward your customers, and encourage them to recommend you to others?
Years ago I ran a programme of very short breaks to England for overseas visitors. They had very little time so we gave them a folder of info, including a ready-stamped postcard of the place they were visiting.
Towards the end of their trip we reminded them to write their postcards and then we collected them and promised to post them. A small gesture, a small cost, with a big impact. Those postcards triggered a lot of recommendations and positive messages.
When guests leave their accommodation, they're usually setting out on a long journey. They'll get hungry and their children will get bored. How about saying goodbye with a tin of travel sweets (branded with the accommodation name)? Perhaps a small puzzle for young children and a chew for their dogs? Maybe you could clean their car windows or offer tips on the best way to avoid local traffic?
We say first impressions count, and they do. But last impressions are important too. They're part of making good memories that last.