As the first American woman to be admitted to the exclusive Les Clefs d’Or Association for concierges, industry leader Holly Stiel, has seen her fair share of changes to the concierge profession. In light of the changes technology has brought to the role of concierge and the hospitality industry as a whole in recent years, it might be surprising to some that Stiel is an advocate for technology. Indeed, it’s her perspective that technology provides concierges with the opportunity to enhance their role and place him or her at the center of the hotel experience from the moment the guest sets foot on the property.
Here, Stiel explains how the three fundamental elements of thinking like a concierge – integrity, responsibility and an everyone-wins mentality – are elevated by technology, allowing the concierge stay one step ahead of the guest.
Thinking with integrity
“The concierge is an advocate for guests and an ambassador for their hotel and city. Providing the best recommendations builds trust with guests that extends from your concierge to your hotel to your brand. These recommendations let guests feel they are ‘living like a local’ and building deep-rooted connections with the area. The trustworthiness of your concierge can distinguish your hotel from others the next time guests think about staying in your neighbourhood.”
“Technology facilitates the integrity of the concierge by taking the burden off of concierges’ cognitive organization techniques, while allowing them to curate databases of local area information for easy reference on a whim. Gone are the days of elaborative “singing gorilla” note cards in Rolodexes with the hopes of them being organized correctly and easily found for the next telegram request. With concierge-focused technology, concierges can import vendor details to create memorable trips, filled with great activities and dining experiences that will impress guests. This instant access to information increases guests’ perception of the concierge’s expertise on a particular topic and makes guests feel like they are getting the best insider information in the area.”
Thinking with responsibility
“Your hotel concierge is on the frontlines of giving your guest the best experience and likewise, they are the ones who the guest goes to when things go wrong. When a guest feels like a specific need is not being met, the concierge is responsible to find an alternative outcome – and fast.
Technology gives hotels the opportunity for the entire team to share the responsibilities of providing the highest level of concierge service to their guests. Although hotels are 24-7, a concierge may not be accessible round-the-clock. With technology, staff members can provide recommendations, based on the concierges suggested places, and submit request tickets if the concierge is unavailable. Using technology, every team member in your hotel can answer whatever questions guests might have about the status of their requests. Relaying this information back to the guest in real-time changes the conversation with guests from reactive to proactive, and assures the guest their need is a top priority. It also allows the rest of the staff to take the information and be sure the concierge will be able to respond to the requests efficiently.”
Thinking with an everyone-wins mentality
“The concierge is the eyes and ears of a hotel. Thinking like a concierge means they consider other departments within the hotel and dispatch information seamlessly in order to streamline hotel operations. If a guest comes to the concierge asking for their TV to be repaired, or requests an extra sheet, the concierge needs to instruct the housekeeping or maintenance department on the delivery details and exact issues. If this communication is relayed effectively, this redounds to the benefit of both the guest and the hotel.”
“Technology allows for transparency in communication and its seamless flow between departments, and makes sure the guest is having the best experience with zero faults. Hotels that run on a single technology platform, remove the ways requests can get lost in the shuffle between departments, and syncs all communication together, so that every department can communicate seamlessly.”
Technology has given concierges the freedom to rethink how they are serving their guests, organizing their desks, communicating across the entire team, following-up on guest requests, and more. Being at the forefront of the hospitality industry, concierge icon Holly Stiel is the best person to share her thoughts on the impact of technology on the concierge profession; “Technology will never replace a concierge, only extend their abilities to execute the ultimate service.”