Building a Concierge Program for Life

By Tom LaTour Principal, LaTour Signature Group | November 27, 2009

It is here that resort properties can move beyond merely "satisfied" customers to creating loyal ones for life. This bonded relationship is crucial in these tough economic times when there are fewer dollars to expend and each penny spent is closely scrutinized - even for those guests who are sitting in the lap of luxury.

Evolution of the Concierge

What exactly is a concierge? Depends who you ask. In my book, the concierge is the hotel employee with acute insight, improvisational action, personal responsibility and abundant optimism who is entrusted with all the specialized needs of the guest.

But for those who've been in that position or utilized their services, the concierge can be described as part magician for making the impossible appear with the slight of hand; part pit bull for having the tenacious intensity to dig their teeth in and not let go until the job is done; and, part miracle worker often elevated to near sainthood for pulling off feats of near biblical proportions.

The word concierge evolves from the French comte Des cierges, the "keeper of the candler," a term that referred to the servant who attended to the whims of visiting noblemen at medieval castles. Eventually, the name concierge came to stand for keeper of the keys at public buildings, especially hotels. There is even a famous prison in Paris called The Conciergerie, in honor of the warden who kept the keys and assigned cells to the inmates.

In another international twist of the definition, a client from Mexico tells me that in his country, the word concierge means janitor.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

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