What You Should Know About Offering Personal Concierge Services at Your Hotel
Providing thoughtful and customized personal concierge services will set your hotel apart from the rest.
In today’s busy technologically advanced society, many hotel guests still appreciate a personal touch. The extra assistance that personal concierge services offer ensures guests’ needs are met, from excellent restaurant recommendations to clear road directions and more. In the competitive hospitality and lodging industry, the stakes are high when it comes to ensuring your guests have an excellent experience. Hotel owners who continue adapting their personal concierge services to better fit with needs, lifestyles, and preferences of their customers will find great success and thrive in this cutthroat industry.
As hotel technology continues to advance, elements such as virtual check-in, online booking, and smartphone digital keys are becoming the norm. While this provides guests with convenient, fast check-in and out, the personal touches of their experience may be lost. In fact, many hotels are removing hospitality from the hospitality industry.
But what’s the real value of extra touches, like personal concierge services? Hotel key service provider, OpenKey explains, “Because concierges are so flexible and knowledgeable, they are still an integral part of the hotel business.” The human element of a well-informed personal concierge is still of high value to many customers today and savvy hotels know that personal concierge can elevate a guest’s stay from mediocre to stellar.
Modern personal concierge services offer all sorts of custom advice, from money saving travel ideas to restaurant suggestions, entertainment recommendations, appointment assistance, reservation help, and more. This level of excellence is a key factor for return customers.
If you’re ready to stand out from the other bed and breakfasts, resorts, and hotels in your area, answer the call of customer service with a personal concierge desk. The value of a trusted concierge far outweighs the cost. Here are three important aspects of personal concierge services to keep in mind.
3 Ways to Offer Next Level Personal Concierge Services
1. Train Friendly, Problem-Solving Staff
The personal concierge desk is representing your hotel brand. Whether it’s a single staff member or a team of experts, they must carry a vast understanding of guests’ expectations and quality customer service. Familiarity with the area and knowledge of the type of assistance visitors require for your locale is a must.
Beach recommendations for a Malibu boutique hotel are reasonable, but free skiing vouchers for travelers arriving at an Arizona Airbnb doesn’t make much sense. U.S. News says most of the best concierges out there know and understand the vicinity better than anyone else. They get the “nooks and crannies of a region better than anyone, and they usually have unique connections and insider hacks.” Your personal concierge should help guests feel at ease and content with their “home away from home” and all it has to offer.
A quality personal concierge is there to help travelers with ANYTHING. The more prepared and informed your concierge team is, the better.
Team members should expect questions that run the gamut. Think of them as guests’ alternative to Siri. From the strangest requests like where’s the best organic pet food store around here to grab dinner for my beloved cat? to problem solving a unique travel issue, your concierge should have the resources. This may mean finding a last-minute babysitter for guests at your family-friendly hotel or pulling a few strings to snag a last-minute dinner reservation slot.
Take the time to carefully train those you hire to represent your personal concierge team. All concierge personnel should familiarize themselves with local attractions, top food destinations for out-of-towners, and the best ways to fix an unexpected issue. The more prepared your personal concierge staff is, the more impressed guests will be with your top-of-the-line services (and the better reviews and recommendations they’ll give your hotel).
2. Include Niche Experts on Your Concierge Team
It’s important to note that in today’s changing hospitality industry, personal concierge services catering to one unique specialty are often desired. Thanks to their trusty smartphones, guests may not require as much hands-on assistance as they once did in the past, but this means that concierge providers should expand their service offerings.
Imagine the value of an expert wine connoisseur during a stay in Napa or a tropical nature expert during an Amazon Rainforest exploration! The most popular personal concierge services today are specific, informed, and aim to provide the most authentic, curated experience for each and every guest.
For example, the trendy Dream Downtown hotel in New York City offers guests sneaker concierge services which includes special access to some of the most elite and high-end shoe brands out there. Sneaker experts are on hand to give advice and help guests with their selections.
Love your pup? The pet-friendly Delano hotel in Las Vegas offers personal concierge services for ALL your furry friends. From grooming to pet sitting and even finding a restaurant that lets your dog dine with you, this establishment knows how to think outside the box and guests love the personalized attention.
Lastly, Hotel Indigo located in the lower east side of New York City employs and trains graffiti concierges to show visitors the best street art and areas of inspiration around the city in various neighborhoods they would likely not discover without the right type of travel guide.
From fire concierge to romance concierge, the specialty options for services offered are almost endless. With specialties ranging from craft beer, genealogy, LGBT wedding planning, running, tequila, apothecary, cultural, adventure, beach, soap, ski, music, island insider, and many more, odds are, if you can name it, a hotel out there has exactly what the customer is looking for.
Personal concierge services focused on one niche area do well because they serve a specific purpose and help get guests get exactly what they want, when they want it! Kevin Murphy, chairman of the Hospitality Services Department at Rosen College of Hospitality Management said of concierge services, “Their role will never diminish, but it’s going to be a much more specialized type of service that they’re providing.”
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Change with the Times
As technology advances, many formerly-personalized hotel operations are shifting to apps or the internet. It’s safe to say the role of the traditional concierge is changing and evolving. It’s vital your hotel adapt to stay relevant and useful to visitors lodging with you. Focus on the strengths of personalized service.
“Technology also can’t match the many strong relationships within the city that most concierges have developed.” Remember, smartphones and Google are both great resources for guests, but when on a family trip or holiday vacation, guests still depend on personal concierge services to help them get the most from their getaway.
Part of growing the personal concierge services at your hotel includes upgrading the way you connect with visitors. For example, the Park Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne Australia has a “canine concierge” to greet guests. “Mr. Walker” is clearly not the one taking down reservations and making appointments, but the loveable pup immediately helps guests feel welcome, acts as a stress reliever for all employees, and has greatly improved the establishment’s overall social media presence. A unique approach to personal concierge services like this draws travelers in and immediately grab their attention.
Virginia’s Hilton hotel personal concierge, Connie, is another great example of adapting to the needs of modern-day travelers. Connie is a two-foot-tall robot who was created to answer questions, listen to guests, and interact the same way a real-life person would. The overall goal is that, by implementing a robot concierge to cover some of the basic tasks, the actual in-person staff will have more time for one-on-one assistance when new travelers arrive.
It’s clear that personal concierge services come in many different forms. Although the industry is constantly changing, one thing is definitely for sure: the need for specialized personal concierge services is not going anywhere. Guests want the best experience possible and a skilled concierge team at your hotel will ensure all needs and wants are met.
So, Are Personal Concierge Services Worth It?
The simple answer for hotel owners is yes!
Although the traditional role of a personal concierge continues to change and be redefined, studies show guests still desire a designated person there in-person to assist them. Roberts Marks, president of Les Clefs d’Or USA, the National Organization of Hotel Lobby Concierges, and chief concierge at the Omni San Diego Hotel, said visitors still ask for suggestions and help but in a different sort of way. “Guests will come to us, for instance, with the names of three restaurants they found on different websites and ask us which would be best suited for them.”
Regardless of various technology advances or changes in the hotel business, the overall goal for establishments in the hospitality industry remains the same; to provide guests with the best, personalized experience possible and ensure their stay exceeds any and all expectations.
In an instant, your concierge services can potentially solve all your guest’s problems and turn their night around. It’s crucial to never underestimate the power of a highly trained and experienced hotel concierge professional.
Whether guests are booking a last-minute vacation with friends or heading out on a bachelorette party expedition in a foreign city, personal concierge services make a big impact on their stay. Putting in the time, money and effort towards perfecting concierge services (in some form) at your hotel is worth it and appreciated by visitors who choose to stay with you.
Don’t disappoint your guests! Instead, blow them away with all your personal concierge team has to offer. Reexamine the services offered at your hotel today and consider implementing a few of these changes to see improvements and get new business in the door!