Building Relationships for Life
By Susanne Carter Chef Concierge, The Ritz Carlton New York, Central Park | December 08, 2013
In the hospitality industry, we strive to build relationships with our guests. In the concierge profession, many of these relationships are often life-long and fulfilling relationships. Many of us have participated in life transforming events for these guests. Whether planning surprise engagements, assisting with wedding and honeymoon plans, or finding the right schools and colleges for their children, every aspect of our service can be a pivotal moment or an emotional shift in winning a guest for life. Many concierges have been in the industry so long that they have actually watched their guests' children grow up. This is because top concierges are committed for life.
Last year, a frequent guest called our concierge desk in the middle of Hurricane Sandy, desperate for help. He was not staying at the hotel at the time but his daughter was stuck in Lower Manhattan, as many were, without any water or electricity, and the flood waters were growing. He knew that our concierge team would do everything possible to get his daughter to a safe place. Our team dispatched a chauffeur in an SUV to pick her up. In his eyes, we saved his daughter's life. Every time he stays at the hotel, he tells us this story and also adds that he would never stay anywhere else in New York City.
There have been numerous guests who have sent their children to colleges in New York City, such as Columbia University or New York University. Many are uneasy and nervous about their child being in the big city, which is why we provide them with our contact information and reassure them that everything will be fine. We are here every day of the week and just a phone call away for their college student's needs. We don't consider ourselves babysitters, but think of ourselves as an emotional anchor of security for parents and kids alike.
In my opinion, there are two types of guest loyalty: loyalty to a brand and loyalty to a particular hotel. The reason why a guest is loyal to a brand depends on the personal relationship he/she has developed at a particular hotel, and, most importantly, with an individual or an entire team of concierges. In attending the Les Clefs d'Or conferences, I have become familiar with countless stories about concierges who have nurtured lasting relationships with both kinds of loyal guests. However, there is a sense of satisfaction when a guest affirms: 'I am loyal to a brand worldwide, but when I come to New York, I will always stay at your hotel.' This human connection and emotional bond cannot be broken.
Relationship Building Techniques
The Hotel Business Review articles are free to read on a weekly basis, but you must purchase a subscription to access
our library archives. We have more than 5000 best practice articles on hotel management and operations, so our
knowledge bank is an excellent investment! Subscribe today and access the articles in our archives.