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 January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.