Cultivating a concierge mentality from the bottom up


Cultivating a concierge mentality from the bottom up

Concierge opening a hotel room door

It used to be the hallmark of a high-end hotel - but guests are increasingly demanding the concierge touch as standard.

In the past, concierge service was the mark of the most high-end of hotels: an added bonus that demonstrated that you get what you pay for when it comes to customer service. But in the age of TripAdvisor, and with the industry-wide increase in delivering an excellent guest experience across the board, there’s an onus on the whole front of house team to adopt a concierge mentality.

HGEM mystery guest surveys consistently show that when a team goes over and above standard service, guests are more likely to remember, re-book and recommend. This is obviously what all hospitality providers are hoping for. It’s the backstory of any hotel with a good NPS and positive word-of-mouth potential.

We put out a large-scale HGEM questionnaire to find out what constitutes a ‘concierge’ mentality for guests. We were struck by the wide range of market segments represented in the survey. Guests shared examples: from boutique hotels, family run B&Bs and guest houses to mid-market chains and luxury hotels. We were overwhelmed by the number of responses we got, over 900 in total, so there were plenty of examples to choose from. Here are a selection of the ones that stood out most.

“I was given a free spa pass when I mentioned it was my birthday.”

“At a small B&B we found a pot of lemon curd on our breakfast table after mentioning we liked it the previous day.”

“We hired bikes on the advice of the hotel staff and were able to see so much more of the city as a result.”

“At a small family run hotel in Corfu, when the owners realised it was my birthday, they had a whip-around at the pool and bought me a lilo!”

“During a visit to a five-star hotel, the front of house manager remembered us, where we liked to sit, what we had ordered last time. It made us feel really welcome.”

“Our waiter suggested we should have a tour around the wine cellar when we were staying at a hotel in New York as he had spotted us looking through the window into it.”

“When I mentioned in passing that the visit was to celebrate my wife being free of cancer, we returned to our room to find a helium balloon along with a card from staff. We were really touched and I contacted the CEO of the hotel chain to tell him.”

“The hotel staff recommended an authentic local restaurant that was exceptional. We would never have found it unless they had tipped us off.”

Many of the stories guests shared recalled instances where the front of house team had seized the initiative, going over and above what the guests would have expected, delivering a more personal service. Some of the examples were quirky (like the lilo), but all of them demonstrated thoughtfulness and care.

At HGEM, we know that hospitality businesses who do a good job of empowering their team to use their own judgement when it comes to customer service are more likely to encourage this sort of positive behaviour. Fostering a sense of autonomy within a team is the ultimate antidote to automated service.

HGEM research shows that personal service is something many hotel guests have come to expect too. In a separate poll, 61% of HGEM mystery guests said that if they were returning to a hotel they had stayed at before, they would expect the front of house team to acknowledge this and remember some of their preferences, so logging this information is vital for hospitality providers aiming to please their guests.

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