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 In this technological age, the little black books of the seasoned concierge have been replaced by I phones and Blackberries.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.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.