The next generation of concierges

The next generation of concierges

Armed with their BlackBerries and iPhones, today’s travelers have endless stores of information about their destination in the palm of their hand — everything from where to go and what to do to the best routes to get there. The younger the traveler, the more savvy about using technology to his or her advantage while on the go. And so, in an era in which reviews, reservations and directions are all available at the touch of a button, how does the 21st century concierge stay relevant? 

For Trump Hotel Collection concierges, the key lies in acknowledging and embracing technological advances, adding the latest devices and resources to their own toolboxes and, at the same time, striving to preserve the personal interaction with guests that is essential to their trade. A few observations and tips for the “next generation” of concierges:

Concierge = trust. 

Today’s hotel guests, particularly those under the age of 40, often arrive at the concierge desk having thoroughly researched the experiences they desire. ClubPlanet has tipped them off to the hottest nightspots, and they have already made dinner reservations on their smartphone via OpenTable. Yet, they still seek the services of a concierge for reassurance of their choices and for the kind of nuanced information that technology simply can’t deliver. That is why an experienced concierge will always be valued.

Get out from behind the desk. 

Concierges may find that as fewer guests approach them it becomes increasingly important to look for opportunities to reach out to guests and offer their services. The ability to connect on a personal, human level with guests is the concierge’s competitive edge over even the most sophisticated technological tool.

Stay on top of technological trends. 

The same gadgets that allow guests to be more self-reliant also enable concierges to serve guests with greater efficiency and accuracy. Take online computer classes to keep skills sharp. Be sure to understand every new app and read profusely in order to stay ahead of the game. (My own personal picks for sites that keep me in the know are, Mashable, CNN Tech and AllThingsD.)

Know two languages? Learn a third. 

Even more than technology, the most important skill a concierge can offer is the ability to converse with guests in their native tongue. While bilingual concierges are now the norm, being conversant in three or four languages will be what distinguishes the successful concierge of the future. 

Concierges and their predecessors have been tending to the needs of travelers in some form or other since the Middle Ages. The resourcefulness and adaptability that have always been hallmarks of the profession will keep the concierge relevant as long as people continue to travel.

What are your own thoughts on the role of the 21st century concierge?