Good Concierge, Great Concierge

There is something just a little bit special about when you find a great Concierge. And like when you fall in love, you’ll know exactly when it happens.

Firstly, let me clarify the difference between a ‘good’ and a ‘great’ Concierge.

A good Concierge will be able to deal with the run of the mill transport bookings and restaurant recommendations and will have decent interpersonal and guest relations skills. This type of Concierge you will forget almost immediately once you’ve left the hotel.

A great Concierge will tailor make your holiday just for you. From asking direct intelligent questions we will make sure that you are provided with the very best information and expert tips to ensure that you see, eat, drink and experience all that you wish to. A great Concierge will become your best friend; from always being able to answer any question no matter how obscure, to anticipating your requests this Concierge will seem like a magician. Nothing will be too much trouble. ‘No’ or ‘I can’t’ are not words I use in my professional capacity. A great Concierge will make you feel like you belong in the hotel, and when you leave it will be like leaving behind a member of your family.

This differentiation is no surprise to me. I’ve seen good, bad and then great Concierges in action and it’s like watching a professional footballer running a training camp for kids.

These are some of the things a good Concierge can do for you:

  • Make a restaurant reservation at a well-known trendy restaurant.
  • Book a tour for you based on what he thinks you would enjoy or prefer.
  • Try his/her best to assist with a challenging request.
  • Respond to messages, calls and/or e-mails when time allows.

Compare this to what a great Concierge can do for you:

  • Discuss what type of food, ambience and location you prefer when recommending a restaurant
  • Will show you maps and brochures to explain the routes and tour options available while giving you the initiative to decide what suits you best.
  • Will leave no stone unturned, will not take ‘no’ for an answer, will use every contact, friend and random acquaintance at their disposal to get the job done. We take it very personally if, for any reason, our guest/s are not completely satisfied.
  • Make himself/herself available at all times and respond to any request or enquiry as soon as possible. The job of being a great Concierge is to always appear available even when this may not in fact be the case.

The thing that differentiates one from the other is a complete willingness to satisfy the guest/s request. It may seem logical that you always receive the best attentions and service levels of those offering it i.e waiters, Reception or Concierge staff or even Management; however I am sure that we all realise that while it is admirable that you have such faith in society, it is often not the case.

I know Concierge inside, outside and back to front; I live and breathe Concierge so I suppose I’m as qualified and experienced as anyone to give an opinion.

The sad truth about the service industry is that it is full of too many people who don’t have the passion to make a success of it. Passion is a hugely important ingredient in making yourself successful in your job and indeed in all aspects of your life. I’ve felt this passion for what I do for more than half my life. I know the attitude and dedication it takes to be successful in the hospitality, and most important I feel very strongly about being the very best I can be and making those around me the best they can be.

I’ve made my personal motto ‘Impossible just takes a few extra phone calls.’ It’s based on a phrase that I heard many years ago and I’ve changed it ever so slightly and now it is my personal and professional code of conduct. I use it as a motivating tool for myself more than anything else in my job. I have supreme confidence in myself, my experience and my network of friends, colleagues etc. I cannot even remember the last occasion when I was unable to satisfy a guests’ request or need.

On the face of it it will seem presumptuous, even pompous of me to make such a claim and to have this attitude of omnipotence; but bearing in mind the fact that I wanted to work in hotels from the age of 12 and have worked exclusively in 5 star hotels since leaving school I believe that I’m more than driven to attain such levels of quality and success.

It takes drive, ambition and in some cases a little bit of luck to achieve success. I certainly don’t think I’m the best Concierge, or even the best person that I can be; but I do work extremely hard and always try to challenge myself to achieve bigger and better goals.

‘Impossible just takes a few extra phone calls’ – Sounds simple enough doesn’t it? It works because it is simple. I don’t follow some convoluted ideology or blueprint for success. I focus on the simple things and when you consistently get those right you’ll find the rest all falls into place.

My job is all about connections and contacts.

If I don’t personally know someone who can solve a problem or assist me with information I will be able to find someone who can.

I am Concierge.

Reuben Riffel for the One and Only, as Spill announced on August 1st.

5 responses to “Good Concierge, Great Concierge

  1. Hi I was wondering if you have ever been asked for a reflexologist to give a very good relaxing treatment after a long day work/flight etc. Id be interested to know as I’d like to develop my business, expand my clientele. My background is a PA/executive assistant and know very well the client expectations. Cecile

    • Yes, we do certainly require all sorts of services for our guests who tend to have fairly interesting requests on a regular basis, and I’m sure reflexology would be a popular choice. I’ve always worked in hotels who’ve had spa facilities offering these types of treatments, and found it to be quite useful indeed.

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