Maximizing the Relationship Between the Hotel Concierge and the Guest

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

The hotel executive must be very sensitive to the relationship between the Hotel Concierge and the guest, as it is undoubtedly a key element in the success of your property. The concierge is the link between the guest and your property and a professional concierge can develop and nurture loyal relationships between your guests, your brand and your property. After careful examination of this relationship, we must acknowledge that every element of this relationship comes down to one word, and that is "trust". The relationship between the hotel concierge and the guest is based on and measured by the guests' trust in the concierge. Many elements contribute to creating and maintaining this trust, but at the end of the day it all comes back to that one crucial element: trust. The guest must be able to place their absolute trust in the concierge. Let's examine some of the qualities that a concierge must present in order to gain and build the trust of their guests.

Using intuition and being receptive

The concierge has only a few seconds to make a first impression when meeting a guest. Those first few seconds are critical in winning over the guest, and this is when the concierge's intuition most comes into play. Within one conversation an intuitive concierge can assess the guest and their requests, determine how best to respond, and what recommendations to make or pursue. The concierge's goal is to make the best and most personalized recommendations to every individual guest; this is when their willingness to be receptive comes into play. The guest's responses to a few key questions will reveal much about not only what they're looking for, but how best they will receive the response. The concierge must be receptive to their questions and responses. The concierge must assess if the guest wants a quick and brief answer, or the guest needs much detailed explanation in the response. You may notice your concierge presenting the same driving directions (to your property, for example), in completely different ways to different guests; some guests simply want to be handed a quick printout while others need very detailed verbal and visual cues. This holds true in the concierge's recommendations for dining, or where to go and what to see. The concierge uses their intuition and receptiveness to guest responses to make the perfect response/recommendation to the guest, whether the request is simple or highly complex. Few things make a concierge happier than the guest who says " was exactly what we wanted!" or better yet, " did you know?" The unspoken response to that question is "Trust me, I'm your concierge".

Education and credibility

The hallmark of a good concierge is the demonstration of education and knowledge. Most guests can immediately perceive if a concierge is sincere and knowledgeable in their recommendation or merely providing a pat or rehearsed response or worse yet a "fluffed up" response. In the latter scenario the concierge sacrifices their credibility and loses the guest's trust which is most difficult, if not impossible to recover. It is incumbent upon the concierge to keep up on their education, constantly researching the old and the new of their surroundings in order to be truly educated and able to respond to every guest request with the enthusiasm, sincerity and accuracy of first hand experience. When the guest trusts the concierge they are more trusting of the entire property.

Employing accuracy, and problem solving skills

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.