Maximizing the Relationship Between the Hotel Concierge and the General Manager

By Leigh Anne Dolecki President, The Northern California Concierge Association | February 20, 2010

In my first article for Hotelexecutive.com "Effectively Understanding the Role of the Hotel Concierge" we explored the history and value of the hotel concierge. Now we discuss the relationship between the General Manager and the hotel concierge. Are you maximizing the value of your concierge team?

I believe it's safe to say that most of today's travelers are much more "travel-savvy" than ever before. They surf the internet for the best deals, the best amenities, and they are very loyal to their favorite brand or property. Are you putting your concierge team at the forefront of your best amenities and services? Is your concierge team fully prepared to surpass the expectations of even the most discerning guest?

Every experienced concierge can tell you about the many guests who choose your property because of your concierge. We all have notes from guests who:

  1. Return regularly because they depend upon the great concierge service.
  2. Stay with you on the recommendation of their friends and colleagues, who were wowed by your concierge team.
  3. Met the concierge on a site inspection and was impressed by the added value of the concierge to their future event.
  4. Stopped by to visit your property and met the concierge, who showed them around, and "wowed" them with hospitality. Would you believe that there are guests who make their choice of where to stay after making a round of phone calls to concierge desks, evaluating their performance or potential performance? Please believe it. Guests will not hesitate to tell you that they chose your property because your concierge was the first to respond to their call, and/or seemed the most capable.

Are you maximizing the potential of your concierge team to bring in new and returning guests? Does your concierge team have the confidence and support to reach out to current and potential guests? Let's examine some key aspects of the relationship between the hotel concierge and the General Manager.

Understanding the respective roles of the General Manager and the Hotel Concierge

Obviously, the General Manager and the hotel concierge share the objective of providing service and bringing in new and returning guests; however, their points of view are quite different. The General Manager oversees the "big picture" of operations while the hotel concierge is dedicated to the "momentary snapshot", administering to the immediate needs of the guests. The space between the "big picture" and the "momentary snapshot" not only defines the relationship between the GM and the concierge, it shapes the level of service provided by your concierge team. The key to keeping that "space" to a minimum is in understanding; the concierge must truly understand the GM's point of view of the "big picture," and the GM must truly understand the concierge's point of view of always being "in the moment." How can we gain (and maintain) that understanding? Most concierges and GMs respond to this question with the same answers: communication, education, trust, support, respect and discretion.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: The Greening of Your Bottom Line

There are strong moral and ethical reasons why a hotel should incorporate eco-friendly practices into their business but it is also becoming abundantly clear that “going green” can dramatically improve a hotel's bottom line. When energy-saving measures are introduced - fluorescent bulbs, ceiling fans, linen cards, lights out cards, motion sensors for all public spaces, and energy management systems - energy bills are substantially reduced. When water-saving equipment is introduced - low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and serving water only on request in restaurants - water bills are also considerably reduced. Waste hauling is another major expense which can be lowered through recycling efforts and by avoiding wastefully-packaged products. Vendors can be asked to deliver products in minimal wrapping, and to deliver products one day, and pick up the packaging materials the next day - generating substantial savings. In addition, renewable sources of energy (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.) have substantially improved the economics of using alternative energies at the property level. There are other compelling reasons to initiate sustainability practices in their operation. Being green means guests and staff are healthier, which can lead to an increase in staff retention, as well as increased business from health conscious guests. Also, sooner or later, all properties will be sold, and green hotels will command a higher price due to its energy efficiencies. Finally, some hotels qualify for tax credits, subsidies and rebates from local, regional and federal governments for the eco-friendly investments they've made in their hotels. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are integrating sustainable practices into their operations and how their hotels are benefiting from them.