The comte des cierges or “keeper of the candles” in Medieval times was in charge of the cleanliness and served as a general guide for residents and those who visited castles. Then again in France many apartment buildings included a concierge or portier. However, in the late 19th century wealthy travelers from Europe would take the Grand Tour, a multi-city tour of the great hotels of Europe. In this period, Switzerland became renowned for their work in hospitality and particularly the development of a fine portier or later “concierge.” A set of principles developed by Pierre Quentin helped to define the role in the late 1920s. The meeting in Paris lead to the development of a professional society- Union Professionnelle des Concierge des Grand Hotels. Over the next few decades the organization Les Clefs d’Or (the golden keys) was formed. Today people widely use smartphones to replace the concierge, but the finest hotels and resorts continue to use the human touch. And as families’, hospital patients’, and employees’ jobs and lifestyles become more complex, concierges take on this role in a wide variety of settings.
Job Responsibilities and Future Prospects for A Concierge
Traditionally, a concierge lived in the small hotel or bed and breakfast. What came of that? Well, in many places a bed and breakfast is still the home of the concierge. So it’s not completely lost. What that means oftentimes is that the concierge is also the hotel owner and manager. The concierge in this case is responsible for literally everything except for changing the linens and cooking the meals. There’s a sense of pride in this position as the concierge opens their home to visitors and often has great insights not only into the functions of the hotel itself but of the surrounding area. This is why a concierge often takes on the role of pre-tour tour guide, and will gladly spend quality time guiding you through the city or town from the front desk. That being said many places now hire on a concierge and that individual functions almost entirely like the individual who lived and owned the hotel, but without all of the managerial and maintenance responsibilities that come with the traditional concierge position. The purpose of the concierge is to attend to and see that each and every guest is happy. Do you need your bags taken to your room? Not a problem, the concierge will see to that. Do you need to book a restaurant reservation somewhere tasty and close? The concierge will see to that as well. Are you having issues with the maid service? The concierge will fix that for you. A concierge is like the ambassador of your experience and will always be knowledgeable about his or her surroundings. Whatever questions you have about local businesses, the concierge makes it her business to know about it. The concierge is starting to sound a lot like a smartphone, right? Finding restaurants near you. Finding dog-friendly establishments. And making sure that you are comfortable during your stay. It used to be common practice that a concierge would be on the premises at all times. That is now not always the case. Sometimes you have to pay a little extra to have one of these incredible hospitality wizards on your team. While you may skip on this because of the convenience of Travel tips piece having a human touch is great. And that’s what you are. As a concierge, you are the human touch that we all still need and crave when engaging with our travel experience. Let’s take a gander at a simplified list:
- Welcome Guests to the Hotel or Bed and Breakfast
- Check Guests into their Rooms
- Ensure that Guests have Bags in Rooms Promptly After Arrival
- Check Guests Out of the Hotel or Bed and Breakfast
- Acquire Tickets for Various Events for Guests
- Provide Directions, and Maps to Nearby Destinations
- Give Mini Verbal Tours of the Neighborhood
- Acquire Dinner Reservations for Guests
- Have all of the In-the-Know information for the city or town
- Communicate With Other Members of Staff to Ensure that the Needs of Guests are Met
- Generally streamline the Hotel Experience for All Guests
Types of Concierges
Hotel Concierge- ensures that guests have a memorable experience when coordinating with the porter, booking transportation tickets, recommending places to visit, securing restaurant reservations and more.
Residential Concierge- may be part of a luxury apartment complex or condominium and functions similarly to a hotel concierge.
Personal Concierge- when busy families or working professionals have a bit too much piled up, a personal concierge comes in handy. The job of a personal concierge varies depending on the individual and families needs but may handle bills, the dry cleaning, groceries, and other errands that families are unable to execute without help.
Employee Concierge- helps to take care of the employees in the workplace.
Patient Concierge-a patient concierge serves to meet the unique needs of hospital patients. The goal is to keep patients happier and less stressed during their hospital stay. This adds value to the hospital who is ultimately looking for a high patient satisfaction score.
Using Your Education to Become a Concierge
While there is not any one degree level that automatically lands you the job as a concierge, there are a number of hospitality management degrees that can aid in the process. An associate degree in hospitality management is a great place to start as they are inexpensive, and provide the necessary background education to become acclimated with the hospitality industry. Additionally, you may want to consider becoming certified. A certified hotel concierge is an established baseline global standard. As the demand for concierges expands across the world so with it does the quality of the concierge itself. Prerequisites for this certification include completing the “Art of Concierge” program with the International School of Hospitality. Or you you may be currently employed as a concierge and have maintained employment for 90 days. From there you can purse your certification as a concierge.
Using Your Experience to Become a Director of Hotel Sales
In some cases you can work your way up to the position of concierge using your experience. Individuals working at the front desk often take on a few of the jobs of a concierge and are just one step away from the position.