Strategies for Hiring and Keeping a Top Rated Concierge Team

By Marjorie Silverman Honorary President, UICH, Les Clefs d'Or | August 09, 2010

In this article we will explore how to find these service specialists, how to keep them motivated and inspired and working to improve your turnover statistics as well as bottom line. We will discuss the techniques for creating loyalty and using their unique skill set to best advantage.

The search for a professional head or chef concierge

I recommend that you begin with the website of Les Clefs d'Or, USA Ltd., the professional association of hotel concierges. You can contact them at www.lcdusa.org. They represent 600 professional hotel concierges in 30 states and they link with a network of more than 3000 colleagues in 40 countries. If you have a job opening, it can be posted on the LCD website which is frequently visited by their members. All of these concierges have at least 5 years experience in the industry and they have had to pass extensive written and verbal service skill tests to get their keys. Before you invite one of them for a first interview, they have already been vetted by Les Clefs d'Or.

It has been my experience after more than 25 years in the industry that concierges can successfully move to a new location. Once they have the skill set of providing the service, they can quickly and successfully learn a new city, resort or region. Often there are promising assistant concierges and there is no opportunity for movement in their current hotel giving an incentive to move to a new position. Share your mission statement with them and they can benchmark a new service for you.

Hiring line staff for the concierge desk

All Les Clefs d'Or members are by no means chef concierges and they are perfectly willing to work as staff members. Some hotels have many Clefs d'Or members on staff. A perusal of LCD's most recent membership book identifies 14 LCD members at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, 10 at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, and 7 at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.

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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.