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.
As a Mandarin Oriental Concierge and a Les Clefs d’Or USA member, I am very serious about providing 5 star service. Mr. Wielgopolan is a kindred soul. He is knowledgeable and can recite any Forbes standard upon command. He also has the gift of bringing any Forbes standard from the world of abstract into the world of concrete by sharing examples from his personal travel experiences.
Since the Concierge is considered such a luxury (during their incognito visits the Forbes inspectors don’t test the Concierge Desk once, but twice), I thought it would be worthwhile to share Mr. Wielgopolan’s ‘Five Behaviors of a Stellar Concierge.’
Stellar Concierges know that they have to distill options and information for the most discerning guests. They have a strong working knowledge of their cities and what they offer on a daily basis. They are the experts and can describe their recommendations in detail. They explain why something is trendy or fun and can highlight what makes their recommendations special and unique.
Stellar Concierges deliver information in a concise and articulate manner. They are aware of their body language, tone of voice and choice of words. They are approachable and engaging. They develop a sense of trust with their guests. They smile, speak upbeat and are enthusiastic about their topics. After meeting a stellar Concierge, the guest will always be excited to go out, explore and learn more.
Stellar Concierges have a singular focus on how they can enhance their guest’s experience. They always want to learn something about their guests and have a genuine interest and concern for the guest’s well being. They ask questions, listen carefully and ponder their thoughts so they may provide thoughtful and intuitive service.
Stellar Concierges will make realistic recommendations. They take everything into account. The guest’s duration of stay. The purpose of the visit. With whom they are traveling and how they are traveling so that their suggestions are realistic and tailored to each individual guest.
Stellar Concierges know that luxury is not having to think for yourself. They follow through with tasks, confirm bookings, communicate throughout the entire hotel and send their guest into the world prepared and ready. They are thorough and can anticipate so that their guests are set for success.
Hopefully by sharing the Mr. Wielgopolan’s ‘Five Behaviors of a Stellar Concierge’, all travelers now know what to expect from their Concierge. The goal is also set for my fellow Concierge colleagues to ‘out shop’ the Forbes incognito shopper and get that perfect Forbes score. More importantly, let’s be stellar Concierges and provide genuine, thoughtful and intuitive service to each of our guests.