When starting out as a Concierge you are in for a career of surprises. In fact, if the surprises ever stop, then that’s your cue to retire, change careers or write a book. As a young man entering the realms of the social elite from the perspective of service, I realized I was a total rube and had a lot to learn.
The first lesson I learned was to pretend I could produce anything asked of me. Then give it my best shot. Fortunately, I managed to pull off even ridiculous requests. Like the time a guest occupying the penthouse suite asked for a tow truck instead of limo services in Fayetteville NC. I didn’t ask and I never knew why the gentleman wanted a tow truck as his means of transportation when planning an otherwise elegant evening out on the town. He probably lost a bet or something like that. That is a mild example of some of the bizarre demands made on me as the Concierge, but to keep it simple let me tell you what every excellent service provider in this hospitality industry needs to know.
This should go without saying. However, sometimes a guest will not return the same civility. Needless to say, that doesn’t give a green light to the staff to act in kind. Develop a thick skin and don’t let the occasional, mindless, ill-mannered client bring you down.
Know Your Community
When out-of-towners want to feel at home, the best way is through a local contact. That’s you. Referring with confidence comes from first-hand experience. Get out and try the restaurants, parks, museums, galleries, department stores. Meet as many merchants and service suppliers face to face as you can. Introduce yourself and get to know the people behind their businesses so you can send them clientele in good faith.
You can’t always get what a guest wants, but you need to try before you shut down any request. Even if the Elton John concert is sold out, nothing is written in stone. Call contacts, trade favors, bend over backward to get the tickets and make it look like miracle working is just a part of your job. Believe me, you could make a car payment with your tip.
This is very important, especially when serving high profile patrons. A high standard of privacy is a given between the habitué and the hotel staff. You are not there to judge a guest’s choices. This attribute goes a long way with your establishment’s patrons and will help ensure their return business.
These are competitive days in the overall job market. Having more than a working understanding of the hospitality industry can land you the job. Experience and working knowledge count a great deal, but they must come with good references. If you apply for a position green – without experience and references, the proprietor is more likely to give you a position if you have a degree. A 2-year degree in travel and hospitality will go a long way when up against someone with no degree, work experience and no reference.
These are just 5 simple things to know as a Concierge, but they are a beginning. Once you’ve decided that this is a smart career choice for you, then enjoy. If you bring a sense of fun and accomplishment into your work every day you will love what you do and others will love you doing it.