When you read the word “concierge”, what pops into your mind?
If you immediately think of an elegant figure who fulfills a hotel guest’s wildest dreams and craziest requests with ease, you’re not alone.
But while accommodating outlandish demands is part of their job, hotel concierges do so much more.
Let’s now take a look at the modern role of a hotel concierge, how they can help your hotel and guests, and what role modern technology solutions play in their work.
What Is a Hotel Concierge?
In short, you could think of a hotel concierge as a personal assistant to guests. They’re usually part of the front office department but form a separate entity if a property has multiple concierges. The head concierge oversees this team and usually manages the hotel’s porters and chauffeurs as well.
Similarly to receptionists, concierges are the face of the hotel and offer an important point of contact for guests throughout their stay. However, they do fewer admin-related tasks such as check-ins and check-outs. Instead, they’re more focused on shaping the guest experience by helping to create a memorable, personalized stay.
Among concierges, the best of the best are members of the renowned Clefs d’Or association. You can easily recognize them by their gold lapel pins showing a pair of crossed keys.
Clefs d’Or concierges are seasoned and certified experts in their field with many years of experience. To join the association, they need letters of recommendation from existing members, and they must pass a written test. If your hotel has one of these distinguished concierges, it’s a big deal and you can (and should) leverage it in your marketing.
What Are the Most Important Responsibilities of a Concierge?
The concierge desk offers guests a place to go with their questions and special requests. Put simply, concierges are there to ensure guests have everything they need during their stay, so they can enjoy a delightful, unforgettable experience.
Key Services a Hotel Concierge Provides
Since “creating a delightful guest experience” is rather abstract, let’s review some of the most common services concierges offer travelers.
Taxis: If a guest needs a ride (even during rush hour), the concierge can usually get a taxi to pull up within minutes.
Luxury cars: For travelers who prefer VIP service, concierges can leverage the in-house fleet or book with an external limousine service.
Flights: If needed, concierges can even assist with finding and booking flights, be it on a private jet or with a regular airline.
Planning Special Occasions
Marriage Proposals: Since they know the best places in the hotel and around town, they can help arrange the perfect setting for popping the big question.
Birthday or anniversary surprises: If guests want to celebrate a loved one, concierges can work with other departments (and third-parties) to plan the perfect surprise.
Tickets for Operas, Plays & Shows: Even if a show is hard to get into or sold out, chances are the concierge can procure tickets through their contacts. However, no matter how well connected they are, even they can’t work magic, so it’s good to keep expectations within reason even for the most seasoned concierges.
Tables at Restaurants, Bars or Clubs: If a guest is set on visiting a fully-booked venue, the concierge may still have ways of getting them in.
Assist With Travel Planning
Offer Advice on Sights & Activities: A concierge can give guests better and more personalized recommendations than any guidebook or blog. After all, they know the city/area as well as the back of their hand.
Help Plan Itineraries & Organize Activities: Guests who prefer a personalized done-for-you itinerary can rely on a hotel concierge. They’ll show travelers a good time without the hassle of having to plan anything themselves.
Handle One-off Special Requests
Apart from the tasks above, concierges also do their best to fulfill extravagant wishes. Whether it’s helping guests get the paperwork for their pet to join an international move or planning for the traveler’s arrival by parachute, the answer is hardly ever ‘no.’
How the Role of the Concierge Has Evolved Over Time
The essence of a concierge’s role will always remain the same: to delight guests and fulfill their wishes. But like most areas of hotel operations, even concierges rely more heavily on technology today than in the past. This has created new opportunities, especially since guests have become more demanding and expect responses or solutions faster than ever. Modern tech tools create the chance to meet and even exceed these expectations.
How Concierges Use Modern Guest-Facing Technology To Provide a Better Experience
Today, guests no longer just come to the concierge desk or call if they have a request. Many prefer to use instant messaging channels on their smartphone or other devices. Modern guest communication tools allow concierges to keep an overview of all incoming messages and respond promptly via the guest’s preferred channels. These solutions also make it easier to loop in team members from other departments that need to get involved, e.g. housekeeping or F&B.
New tools also make it easier to book, plan and manage guest transportation, be it with in-house chauffeurs or an external service provider. Finally, like in other departments, technology helps concierges streamline workflows and save time, leaving them with more bandwidth to interact with guests.
How Do You Judge a Concierge’s Performance?
Measuring a concierge’s performance can be challenging since there are few quantitative metrics you can use. However, there are some.
You can track how many successful referrals of in-house services they give, e.g. for your restaurant or spa. If you’d like, you can take it a step further and measure how much revenue this generates as well. Or you can check how quickly they respond to online guest requests and close tickets. Finally, you could examine the bellman operation and track how quickly guests get their bags.
But don’t forget to take a qualitative approach as well. Go through online reviews and guest feedback to see what travelers say about your concierges. This will help you evaluate their impact on guest satisfaction. You may discover that some people primarily come back because they appreciate your concierge service.
Where to find concierge candidates to hire for your hotel
If you’re looking for a new concierge, start by putting out the word among your current concierges. They often know each other across properties and may be able to recommend a new candidate. Of course, you can also post on relevant job boards for senior hospitality professionals to attract applications. Finally, if you want someone with considerable experience and specific expertise, use a recruiter who knows the industry.
A good concierge is worth their weight in gold because they give your hotel the chance to go above and beyond for guests. This helps you increase guest loyalty, get good reviews, boost your reputation and drive revenue.
Even as interactions move online, concierges will keep gaining importance because they allow hoteliers to set their properties apart. It makes you stand out even in the most competitive markets since you can offer what matters most: a high-quality, personalized and responsive guest service.
Best Practices for Guest Service in the Hotel Industry
Great guest service is the cornerstone of a successful hotel business. Whether you’re facing guests, event planners, event attendees, or business travelers, the quality of your guest service could mean happier customers, better reviews, and more revenue.
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