Once upon a time, I was a student at Andalas University in Padang, Sumatra. I was living with an Indonesian family and I was lucky. My host mother was an outstanding chef. She knew all of my favorite Indonesian dishes that I had grew up with in the Netherlands and had some secret recipes herself. In my three months as a summer student I gained five kilo’s. My host mother thought I was too skinny. She also wanted to be sure my mother back home knew she had taken excellent care of me.
Social Media gives the Concierge a tremendous opportunity to highlight our cities and hotels, share our insider knowledge and promote the Concierge profession. Before you join the online travel conversation, the most important question to answer is: how do you create a professional, polished, positive online image of yourself?
If you find yourself in Wynwood to check out Miami’s ever changing street art scene, stop by at the 004CONNEC Urban Art Supplies & Gallery. You can pick up some spray paint cans just in case you wish to leave your own mark in Miami or you can enjoy the coolest collection of graffiti model trucks!
Each Concierge has their pulse on their cities. For the Mandarin Oriental this is so important that we have a Concierge Standard stating that “we give our guests superb recommendations based upon our first hand knowledge and meticulous research.” This requires us to explore our city, eat out, visits museums and take public transportation. Basically, just about anything a tourist would do.
Bye, bye Sri Lanka
Island of Jewels and Names
Island of Tea
Island of Trains
Island of Buddha Statues
Island of Elephants
Once upon a time, in a far distance, under a tree, there was a Sri Lankan elephant who decided to cross the road to continue his morning walk.
Island of Jewels
what’s in a name?
I am taking the train from Colombo to Ella
the world passes by
a boy with a kite
school children in white uniforms
a man working his fields
a lady with an umbrella
My friends and family often ask me what 5 star service means. I grew up in a small town, in a small country, with just a few luxury hotels. I always tell them that for the guests it means many things. For the Concierge it means many things too. We are well spoken, polite, gracious, smile and have a genuine interest and concern for your satisfaction and enjoyment of your stay. We are thoughtful and intuitive in our service and suggestions, with exceptional detailed knowledge of our cities and any local events.
During the Pan American Les Clefs d’Or Congress, Mr. Jeff Wielgopolan, Director of Executive Training at Forbes Travel Guide, shared his thoughts on what makes a five star Concierge. Mr. Wielgopolan is a graduate from Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and has worked in many different areas of the industry. In 2005, he joined Forbes Travel Guide where he worked incognito as an inspector, before he became the Director of Executive Training.
The sun moved above the horizon, a small group of ibis poked around in the wet grass and green parrots chirped in the coconut palms overhead. Homeless worked furiously to snooze a few more minutes while Nikes tapped past their heads on early morning jogs. Cafes on Ocean Drive served the first customers of the day and a small group of tourists in Lummus Park studied the architecture in the warm morning light. Their intense curiosity about how so many buildings had been built during the depths of the Great Depression, when supposedly everyone in America was broke, required an explanation.
Tour Guides, like Concierges, have ongoing love affairs with their cities. In everyday events and every new thing they recognize the historic conditions that made it possible and the possibilities they imply for the future. And they love to connect the dots! The dots paint a picture of the soul of the city that is always complete but never completed. Like the Buddhist proverb that says a man never steps in the same river twice, one thing that is certain is that Miami is never static.