Saturday, 1 November 2008

Walibi's end (of season)

It might seem that all I do these days is rant, but this time I can't stop myself.

Continuing the theme of shite customer service in Belgium, Walibi gets the award!!!

I have always been a big fan of this park, ever since my first visits as a kid. But in the last year or two this local, small but pretty decent park has just lost the plot - or rather the park bosses have.

My visit to the traditional Halloween Nocturne on Wednesday should give you an idea to how bad things have become.

We turned up at around half 6 in the evening in what felt like subzero temperatures to find the park absolutely packed.
The theming as always for Halloween is not bad, They have clearly put a bit of money into this, probably hoping it will distract the coasties long enough so they won't notice the heaving park.
We see the queue on the Cobra coming right up to the turnstile and instantly we know what this night is going to be like. Usually, even on a really busy day, queues on Cobra will never exceed 25-30 minutes ( Which in any other park than Walibi is actually VERY good). Tonight it was at least an hour.

Our friends queuing for the Vampire did so for over an hour and 20 minutes. Which is unbelievable as we have never spent more than 15 minutes queueing.

A quick walk around the park shows us that the two water rides are shut, given the cold, this is a good thing. But it wasn't just the water rides. Turbine, Go-Karts and a good number of kiddy rides were shut too. Not a good thing when the park is full as it forces people to accumulate at other rides thus creating even longer queues.

It turns out while miraculously having its two trains running, Werewolf has approx 40% of it's seats corded off. WELL DONE.

Anyway, we realise that unless we are prepared to stand outside in the freezing cold and queue for the whole night, we're not really going to get on any rides. So we decide to go for food.

We are used to the burgers at Walibi.
WAY overpriced at 8.50 euros for a meal compared to a regular meal at McD's where you'll expect to pay about 6.50 euros. we have a maximum of 5 people in front of us, and still it takes them over 20 minutes to serve us. The drinks machines seem on the blink (we have seen this before), the burgers are under broken (or just not turned on) heating lamps, while the working lamps are heating nothing at all. And of course, it takes 3 and subsequently 4 employees to work a bancontact machine. During which time NO ONE is getting served.
Pathetic and really unnecessary.
How easy is it to leave 2 people at it, and ask the customers behind the ones trying to pay if anyone would like to pay cash - and serve them!!!

No smiles once we actually do get served, and when I get my burger and check that it is at least warm - which it isn't of course, having been placed under an off lamp - I am told that it will be hot once I eat it! HUH??
How does that make sense in her little mind ???
(I have numerous times returned to the counter to exchange my food because it was cold, this is not a today specific problem.)

And every time, no smiles, courtesy and definitely no apologies. It seems we might even be pissing them off by just ordering food.

Having eaten, I watch the boys go off for a relatively manageable queue on Dalton. I go in search of some open toilets (the ones in the resto were OOO.) I get back to the Dalton in time to see the guys get off. At least they got a ride in!!
(I won't mention that even Dalton was running only 3 cars.)

We head over to the arcade so I can finally do my little corporate video on my favourite machine. Tuns out that it is striking along with the drinks machine, and is on the blink too. Aah well.
It is after 8 and because the queues are soo large, they have now stopped letting people into rides to clear the backlog of frozen humans in time for closing. I'm starting to get a bit peeved by now and along with the cold, I'm about ready to call it a night.

We figure a beer might be the only way to salvage what has been so far a complete waste of time and bearing in mind this is only our second visit to the park this season, I was pretty much excited about coming.

After queueing (AGAIN) for half an hour for a beer at the Brasserie, deflated, we head to the resto attached to Aqualibi for a final try.
Here I admit, despite having a good laugh at the makeshift pen the waiter is using, we get served fast and manage finally to get a table and sit.

Half an hour later, the park is closing and we head on to the exit.

It has become very noticeable for a while now and especially tonight that Walibi's strategy is to fill the park, get money on mediocre food and merchandise and not give a damn if people don't actually have a good time.

I know they have to recuperate the deficit they must have created during the whole Vertigo fiasco but ultimately the first rule in business is make your clients happy or they won't come back! - And they most certainly won't recommend the park to any of their friends.
Customer satisfaction here (and in this country in general) practically counts for nothing and it is a real shame.

So for the first time in 6 years, Walibi will not be getting a season pass from me next year. It is just not worth the hassle or the money.

No comments: