What is in That Concierge Bag of Tricks? The Magic is in the Planning

By Marjorie Silverman Honorary President, UICH, Les Clefs d'Or | January 08, 2012

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort and the Death Eaters are bearing down on Harry, Hermione and Ron. They precipitously had to leave a wedding and found themselves without their tools of survival, including the mundane, a change of clothes, as well as the magical, the famous Invisibility Cloak. Hermione, ever the practical one and clearly the concierge of the group came to the rescue. Her clothing for the wedding included a small beaded handbag, a typical evening bag, in which she now rummaged. Out of it she pulled jeans, sweatshirts, socks and the silvery Invisibility Cloak. "She gave the fragile-looking bag a little shake and it echoed like a cargo hold as a number of heavy objects rolled around in it." As we subsequently discover there were books, rucksacks, a tent, mugs and plates, in short everything they needed to continue their quest. In their epic battle against the Dark Arts, Hermione, Ron and Harry did more than survive, they prevailed.

Let's analyze the Hermione character who throughout the Potter books is the one who is always prepared. She is analytical, she studies hard, she anticipates. She is open to new ideas and is instructed by her whole life experience. She has been given opportunities and she capitalizes on them. She organizes a "Bag of Tricks" that amazes and dazzles. She is effective because she is organized. Harry and Ron are able to slay the dragons because she has the tools ready for them.

Let's analyze the Hermione character who throughout the Potter books is the one who is always prepared. She is analytical, she studies hard, she anticipates. She is open to new ideas and is instructed by her whole life experience. She has been given opportunities and she capitalizes on them. She organizes a "Bag of Tricks" that amazes and dazzles. She is effective because she is organized. Harry and Ron are able to slay the dragons because she has the tools ready for them.

Exceptional hotel concierges are like Hermione: they anticipate guest needs so that they will be ready to handle them. It takes practice, hard work and training. The magic is in the planning.

They form networks in their hotels and communities to make things happen. They stay in their jobs for a number of years so that they put in the time necessary to master their jobs as in Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Outliers (see the 10,000 hour rule-the time he believes necessary for true mastery of a task). They organize dinners, sightseeing, transportation, yoga classes, passports, tickets, babysitters and romantic evenings. They will guide you to the best hairdressers, jazz clubs or simply help you find that elusive safety pin. They can have your wedding dress steamed for you and send a basket to your changing room with needle and thread, hair spray, static guard, hair pins, and breath mints. They have all of this ready for you because they have most likely had your question before or they know someone else who has. Let's look at a few examples of this preparedness and creativity.

Many concierges organize "The Incredible Concierge Emporium" or the "Oh, dear Cabinet". This is a place to keep all those irksome small things that every traveler forgets to pack. The guest calls the operator or housekeeping and they say, "oh dear, I forgot an emery board or oh dear, I don't have a band aid and I need one. I am a meeting planner and I have no stapler, scissors or white out". Typically, in hotels, no one takes ownership of these items and the guest is apt to be referred all over the hotel to track down what he needs.

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