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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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.