The ILHA asked Luxury Hotel Concierges around the world how Guest Experience has evolved the last few years. Recent trends, like technology, customized experiences, and traveling like a local, have impacted how guests interact with Concierges, as well as their expectations. Here is what they they said:
“One of the most apparent examples of the constantly evolving needs of our guests is the yearning to experience the comfort of home whilst on the road. From connectivity to the design of our resort, guests are looking for an experience that mirrors their life back home. Another area that has seen a change over the years is the dependence and need for technology. Guests are bringing more devices with them than ever before and expect the resort to support this behaviour. The need of fast-speed internet connectivity, numerous plug-in ports and guests traveling with multiple devices has become increasingly evident and an important factor for guest satisfaction. The technology revolution has sparked other changes as well, namely in the way guests share their hotel experiences, both good and bad.” – Amod Jha, Chief Concierge, Sofitel The Palm Dubai.
“I have seen a shift more towards the expectations of a guest from a service perspective. Luxury design and construction is easier to achieve nowadays, but it is the quality of service that set each experience apart. Travelers today want a good service experience and aren’t willing to compromise on that, especially since they can get a nice looking hotel in most places. That’s why our guests choose Four Seasons. We have built our brand on delivering exceptional service like no other.” – Liloo Alim, Chef Concierge, Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto, Canada.
“Guest expectations have definitely changed in the last 28 years – with modern technology (smart phones, tablets, etc…), guests are much better informed about everything that’s going – in general. Technology however, has been a terrific working tool for Concierges, as it assists to enhance the experience. The personal experience and knowledge that a Concierge passes on to the guest through recommendation is, and always be, the most reliable and credible information the guest can ever get.” – Jorge Sousa, Chief Concierge – Interview Committee Member “Les Clefs d’Or Australia”, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, Australia
” I started my life in the Hotel Industry 27 years ago and needless to say the changes have been bigger and more challenging than we sometimes realize or like to acknowledge!
When referring to Leisure Guests, the usual 7 day Family Vacation has turned into a few day “Quick Fix/ Guilt Trip” experience. What I mean by this is that very often an absentee Father will try to win his family back with the most outrageous offerings and let the Kids organize and rule their time away to try and ‘make up’ for lost times. Kids have also been exposed the Best in the World when it comes to Hotel Offerings and are not shy to express their disapproval or discontent.
I still enjoy coming to work every day and am delighted by satisfied and regular return Guests, especially those whom I have been taken care of for many years. I still have so much to say about the ever changing Life as Concierge and my role in the Hotel as it is not just a Job to me but a way of life.” – Deon Prinsloo, Head Concierge / Guest Relations Manager, The Palazzo Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa
“In a busy Resort like ours the guest is both more self-sufficient and dependent on the knowledge of a Concierge. Many guests tend to investigate and learn about a place they will vacation in from the Internet prior to their arrival. They then contact the concierge for insider knowledge or to reserve activities, dinners and take care of other arrangements, as they may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of the offerings. I feel that today’s guest is then more appreciative of the personal touch that we offer, our attention to detail, our hand on knowledge and familiarity with the options.
In the age of technology it may feel refreshing that there is a person on the other end that remembers their name, or their likes or dislikes and pays individual attention to their needs.” – Hana Lynn, Concierge, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
“Guest expectations have become very high these days. When they enter the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, they expect the extra mile, we need to anticipate our guest’s needs before they ask for anything. Guest expectations are beliefs about service delivery that serve as standards or reference points against which performance is judged. Because guests compare their perceptions of performance with these reference points when evaluating service quality, thorough knowledge about guest expectations is critical to hospitality services. Knowing what the guest expects is the first and possibly most critical step in delivering good quality service. Being wrong about what guests want can mean losing a guest’s business when another company hits the target exactly. Being wrong can also mean expending money, time and other resources on things that do not count to the customer. Being wrong can even mean not surviving in a fiercely competitive market.” – Mohamed Rabie, Director Of Guest Services & Concierge, 3rd Vice President of Les Clefs D’Or – Qatar, The Ritz Carlton, Doha, United Arab Emitates.
“To me it has changed for the best. I have realized that guests depend more and more on the concierge desk to make their whole stay as enjoyable as possible. There is a bigger trust between guests and concierges that was never there before. They do expect more and a wider range of questions but with the best contacts in town and making the impossible possible for our guests we enjoy every moment of every day.” Isabelle Hogan, Chef Concierge, THE MARK, Madison Avenue, New York, United States of America.
“Yes indeed guest expectations have changed a lot, they have become more demanding as guests are looking for details. In the luxury market, the details make the difference, all luxury hotel brands can offer top service, but only a few of them can make the difference. Making the guest feel special and not just a guest or a customer but part of a journey can be tough even for just one day.
In the past without internet and all tech possibilities the guests were blind when travelling and the concierge was the reliable person to contact for anything. Now most of them know where to go, therefore we have to be extremely good in surprising them, with technology, and where the internet does not reach. Special places, special moments, special emotions, those sensation cannot be reached through a computer, it is something that we have inside, we have to have “customer caring”.”
“We have to be updated, always. They do not want to waste time when in a business city, they want to discover the city but in a human way, they want to know what others do not know. When relaxing in a leisure hotel, they want to switch off their minds, – we have to be great to let them understand that now it is their time to relax.” Riccardo Arnaldi, Head Concierge Desk, The Westin Palace, Milan, Italy.
“Guest expectations over the years have seen a growing transition to a more electronic & expedited service. Guest’s expectations for the concierge have also transitioned to less of a demand for the basic request we once used to receive. The growth of hospitality media applications allow the guest to receive “non-biased” responses to guest experiences, which may put the creditability and motive of the concierge in question. This means the knowledge and personal experience the guest has is even more important than in the past. There will always be a moment that a concierge will be a necessity within a hotel, however that necessity will continue to change over time and demand.” – M. Stephen Webster, Concierge, Four Seasons Houston, Texas, United States of America.