The experts highlight some sensitive issues in the organization of today’s Luxury hotels and Palaces that have to change, in the perspective of adapting the welcome to the new customers’ needs. A new modern and technological concierge service is one of them… What does this means practically ?
New skills at the concierge desk
Today, the concierge service is often a traditional desk held by employees of the hotel that are concierges and part of an international association, called “Golden Keys”, “Clés d’Or” in French. This organization has a real know-how and network of good addresses worldwide.
But, with the new approaches of the welcome, in particular the tablets, applications, and on- line services (e-concierge), even before the booking of the guests, there is a need for marketing training, customer knowledge on databases, web-mastering, communication and marketing of local and authentic experiences.
No more tipping for standard requests
For the guests who are accustomed to this service desk, 80% of the demands treated are still practical bookings (transfers and tables). The reality is also that very few concierges want to deposit their addresses on internal applications, because of the financial extra-benefits they get at each transaction (they are generously tipped by the guests and also having a kick-back from tour companies and providers).
This issue is not simple. As their salary is very low, luxury hotels have let go these practices for years now because of the overall satisfaction of the guests and the profitability for the hotel (poor salaries but customer satisfaction using this service and good reviews).
But things have to change. Because new customers don’t want to pay anymore for transactions they could do at a fingertips and directly on Internet. Even the recommendations and comments could be get on specific website dedicated to a special segment.
Bring a real added value
Guests also want real added value and want to pay only for specific demands. The key is thus is deep change in the concierge job to get to their essence. Anticipating the guests’ needs, surprising them, embracing deep customization on digital tools and in the environment where they are immerged.
Equity and improving salaries
Finally, the study outlined the bad climate these practices induce between salaries in the hotel. A certain equity should be find and a change management: promoting the careers of staff in contact, training the employees for their new missions (skills, knowledge and abilities), then improving the wages and a global system of incentives.
As a conclusion, the job of concierge is not going obsolete, but it will certainly have to change. The concierge plays an increasingly strategic role in the welcome guest experience, that’s a fact. But the way the job is organized and delivered today has to evolve to respond to the huge demand in quality, timeliness and added-value. Digital tools are the opportunity to come back to the true essence of the profession, and restructure the business. It needs the right motivation, new skills, a lot of humility and transparency, so that every guest’s expectations will be anticipated, met and exceeded with an unconditional service-mindedness.