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 June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.