Concierge Relationships that Benefit Guests Beyond Hotel Borders

By Shujaat Khan Chief Concierge, The Capital Hilton | May 04, 2010

The seasoned Concierge stands ready at his desk in the hotel lobby, to aide any and all that require assistance. The most effective hotel concierges are those that understand that it's not always what you know, but often who you know, that counts, when it comes to satisfying their guests.

Being well connected with the owners and management of local venues opens doors and creates opportunities that otherwise may not be possible. Developing relationships with restaurant owners is the best way to be assured of prime tables and excellent service for your guests. It's in the restaurant's best interest to please your guests, knowing that excellent guest feedback will be positive to their bottom line. Likewise, it's in the Concierge's best interest to always recommend the best fit for the type of restaurant the guest requests. While the best steakhouse in town may be Restaurant A for a business dinner; the best steakhouse in town for a family with small children could be entirely different. Being able to consistently make the best recommendation for guests is one of the reasons the Concierges' networks are so important.

Equally critical to the success of a Concierge is being well connected with fellow Concierges, locally, nationally and internationally.

Luxury and business travelers are very savvy. While their basic needs remain the same, they are worldlier and come with an entirely different set of expectations, than they did just 10 years ago. In this technological age, the little black books of the seasoned concierge have been replaced by I phones and Blackberries. Now more than ever, the constantly expanding network of the experienced concierge is critical to their ability to exceed their guests' expectations.

A concierge working in the lobby of a busy luxury or business hotel will be requested to recommend or make reservations for restaurants, entertainment, transportation, sightseeing, and shopping, hundreds of times a day. They will be requested to acquire goods and services for some of their guests including simple things: beauty treatments, foreign newspapers, and personal assistants, to the more unusual, such as purchasing and furnishing a town home for their guest's child coming to study or acquiring luxury vehicles in just the right color. Guests' requests vary from the ordinary to the bizarre. However, in most cases, the seasoned Concierge relies heavily on their extended network to consistently satisfy their guests' requests. Without their network, accomplishing the volume of requests at a busy Concierge desk would be nearly impossible.

While everyone knows that Concierges often design onward itineraries for their guests, perhaps it's not as well known that sophisticated travelers frequently rely on their trusted concierges to make recommendations on where they should have their next vacation, or where they could host a business meeting in Istanbul two days later.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.