Learn how concierge services can help hotel guests secure reservations and more.
Concierge services traditionally have been offered in hotels, but they are becoming increasingly common in academic, business, civic, entertainment, medical and residential properties. The general public also may access concierge services through privately owned companies. The National Concierge Association (NCA) defines a concierge as an individual whose primary responsibility is to facilitate any guest request, provided it is appropriate, ethical and legal to do so.
Though concierge services are expanding beyond hotels, the average U.S. citizen likely uses a hotel concierge most often. A hotel concierge is an employee of the hotel and is able to network with different businesses to provide a variety of services for guests. A concierge serves the guests' needs during a hotel stay, performing such services as recommending restaurants and purchasing event tickets. A concierge provides many services free of charge, but tips are accepted for more difficult duties. The concierge desk is typically located in the hotel lobby.
The NCA offers its members the ability to earn designations in addition to providing educational resources and networking opportunities. The NCA "Certified Concierge" designation is awarded to members who meet criteria based on customer service, service to the organization and philanthropic involvement. This designation lasts for three years and allows concierges to wear a special emblem signifying their status as a certified concierge.
Guests should introduce themselves to the concierge when arriving at the hotel. A typical concierge service may be as simple as recommending great places to eat, the best places to shop or the trendiest place to dance the night away. A concierge also should know the most popular sightseeing tours and even what neighborhoods to avoid. Other services include getting those next-to-impossible dinner reservations, securing travel arrangements or making spa appointments. A concierge can also facilitate the purchase of event tickets, such as a concert, opera, sporting event or theater show. Guests should not request anything illegal or unethical, nor accept an offer for such services from a concierge.
According to Forbes magazine, it is a good idea to call the concierge service as much as a month in advance of arrival. This will allow plenty of time for the concierge to make the necessary arrangements, such as special transportation to and from the airport, setting up a special birthday or anniversary dinner, or other event. A concierge will frequently know of special discounts and seasonal specials that a guest may be eligible for.
Concierges may also be used to reserve a room if the guest has established a close relationship during previous stays at that hotel. The concierge will work through the reservations department to ensure that any special requests are met. The concierge is more likely to provide personal service than an anonymous reservationist.
Concierges generally agree that there is no wrong way to tip, but they may have their preferences. CNN advises that tipping a concierge is not necessary to simply get directions, dining or shopping recommendations. However, special services, such as getting last minute tickets to a concert, should be tipped $5 to $10. More difficult services such as arranging the details for a birthday or anniversary celebration should be tipped $10 to $20. Larger tips may be warranted from a hotel guest who frequently stays at the same hotel and uses the concierge services.