Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Romei

Michael Romei

Chef Concierge, The Waldorf Towers

Michael Romei has been dubbed "The Ambassador of Hospitality" and he practices his brand of statecraft on both a local and global level. Mr. Romei is the Chef Concierge of the Waldorf Towers/Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Presidents, heads of state, celebrities, and tourists from around the world seek out Mr. Romei with requests that run the gamut from getting hot tickets to a sold-out show to staging an elaborate marriage proposal. You'll find Mr. Romei in his hotel lobby speaking Italian on the phone, chatting with guests in Spanish and making dinner reservations in French. Need to charter a jet in an hour to take you to Paris? Done! Or how about that golf cart you need assembled in your suite on Christmas Eve complete with a big, red bow? With pleasure! Or perhaps you're leaving for Hong Kong later in the week for an unexpected business meeting. Mr. Romei will seamlessly provide a hotel, an itinerary, and walking directions to his favorite restaurant, which will also become yours because he's already anticipated your needs. He'll tell you to say hello to the Maitre' d for him whether in Hong Kong or Mumbai or Rome. Mr. Romei is the insider's insider, knowing where to go and what to do in the far flung corners of the world. Mr. Romei's frequent Waldorf guests will often boast that their favorite concierge in New York set up a complete European vacation for them. In today's competitive luxury hotel market, that is indeed an edge. Mr. Romei is the General Secretary of the prestigious international organization Les Clefs D'Or, signified by the golden keys that he wears on his lapels. Les Clefs D'Or boasts nearly 4000 members working in 60 countries all of whom have undergone rigorous training in the concierge profession, a lot of that training done by Mr. Romei himself. He logs tens of thousands of miles each year conducting training sessions and seminars all around the world. Mr. Romei teaches the art of hospitality to all levels of hotel staff; from General Managers, to bellhops, to housekeepers, and of course, the concierges. This year alone, Mr. Romei has traveled all over India, the Maldives, The Caribbean, Queenstown, New Zealand, Bangkok, and locally in NYC and USA conducting training sessions. He also spreads the word of just how invaluable concierges are to their hotels. Perhaps the GM of the Movenpick Hotel in Bangalore, India said it best, after one of Romei's training sessions: "The concierge is the face of the hotel. He is the one who interacts with the guests on a daily basis. So it is vitally important to have an excellent and well-trained concierge team." Mr. Romei has a BA from Manhattanville College, a Master's degree in International Studies from NYU, is a faculty member of NYU's Continuing Education Hospitality Program, and lectures and teaches all over the world.

Mr. Romei can be contacted at 212-872-4718 or michael.romei@waldorfastoria.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.