Before the internet, a hotel concierge recommended restaurants, booked tickets to sold out shows, and unveiled venues “the locals go to” for an endless stream of dependent and grateful guests.
Today, those same guests are just as likely to whip out a cell phone to book reservations at a restaurant, or tickets to the local comedy club.
It seems there’s a website or an app for just about every need a traveler has, but there’s still a way for concierges to help guests and even be vital during their stay… by using technology to their advantage.
Get to Know Your Competition
A good concierge shouldn’t shun the internet revolution. In a recent study, 44% of travelers actually booked a hotel room on the smartphone, as HebsDigital.com reports. That is an increase of over 50% from the previous year. Many more researched hotels and restaurants online. So, as a concierge, do the same.
Research hotels, restaurants, clubs and entertainment venues on your mobile phone, or desktop. Industry experts like HEBS Digital suggest using all three. Then go to these places and see what the internet leaves out. Are there any misleading reviews? Does the internet version live up to the real version?
Since you are the local insider in the area, start your own list of places to go that are better than the ones listed online. Only by knowing which places people will see on the web, will you become the real “live expert” your guests truly need.
Going the Extra Mile
With a tablet, a guest can fetch a restaurant review in a split second, or book tickets to a comedy club from the cab, but they still can’t get sold out tickets, a manager’s discount, or reservations at a “booked” restaurant.
As a concierge, you can make connections with managers at comedy clubs, night clubs, coffee houses and restaurants. Offer them free advertising (your good word) in exchange for a small discount, or the best seats in the house. As you improve your connections and send more paying and behaved guests to their establishment, the manager may return the favor and give your guests reservations even when they’re “booked.”
It’s true that a guest can book Broadway shows from Telecharge and other event sites in less than five minutes. Really good concierges can find sold out tickets through a variety of sources and provide them to guests. If this is something your hotel encourages (many luxury hotels go out of their way for their guests), you will become indispensable.
Know the Area Intimately
Over 1 billion people will travel to countries outside there own, this year according to The World Bank, and few know a thing about that new country. The internet does not understand the cultural nuances you do, nor does it know the best time to venture out to places in your country, or what to do when you get there.
A concierge does. So, go out and explore these places in person, figure out what foreign travelers will want to know, and deliver that information to your guests.