LuxeGetaways Magazine – Fall 2016 | The life of a Concierge is one filled with discovering new and inventive ways to exceed guests’ requests, and their expectations. It is more than simply making dinner reservations for the savvy guests who choose to take advantage of the Concierge’s knowledge of the destination, and their personal connections. I was able to get to know several of the Concierges within the Hilton Worldwide family of properties, and they shared insight into this ever-evolving role within the hotels. I certainly know that I have experienced a number of run-ins with Concierges at luxury hotels who simply should not be Concierges, and only know how to do web searches to find results to questions. However, in many cases internationally, the well-trained Concierges can be absolutely priceless when looking for that exclusive localized experience.

As a brand, Hilton Worldwide has continued to grow in its almost 100-year history, and now includes 13 world-class brands comprised of 4,660 hotels, resorts and timeshare properties with more than 765,000 rooms in over 100 countries. Hilton’s Concierges pride themselves on being the best of the best, but many guests simply are still not aware of their capabilities – or in many cases, assume it is easier to simply utilize what they can find on the Internet. A Concierge is more than a luggage-finding, reservation-making guru – although, they are well versed in each – he or she is an expert for the city in which they reside, making them your personal in-house travel agent. The only thing you must do is to take advantage of their expertise. When looking to impress someone special, or entertain a family or group while traveling, the Concierge can quickly become your best friend.

Common Misconceptions Guests Have About Hotel Concierges:

  • The Concierge only provides general information. In fact, the Concierge aims to provide tailor-made recommendations based on the guests’ preferences. (Markus Dobritzhofer, Rome Cavalieri)
  • Concierges only serve elite guests. The Concierge is there to assist anyone staying at the hotel with the goal of making the seemingly impossible, possible. (Joe Mack Treas, Hilton Nashville Downtown)
  • The Internet has more information than the hotel Concierge. While it is true that a guest can find most facts about destinations online, the hotel Concierge knows the city firsthand, and can give information and insights not found on the Internet. (Jerald Aguilar, Hilton Americas-Houston)
  • The Concierge only provides expensive suggestions from venues that provide commission. Suggestions are not based on commissions – they are tailored to fit the schedules, budgets and preferences of individual guests. The Concierge suggests activities that will leave the guest with memories. Hilton prides itself on Hilton-employed Concierges, who are loyal to the guests, and not a third-party. (Thamirys Saraiva, Hilton Barra)
  • Concierges cannot book and plan trip itineraries. Concierges have become tour guides with benefits – they know the ins and outs of the city they reside, and have the connections and capabilities to plan an entire itinerary from a day trip to a weekend getaway. (Dina Teriitahi, Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa)

Why Guests Should Consult Their Concierge?

  • Firsthand knowledge and experience of the city, and its offerings.
  • Connections with restaurants, box offices and other excursions – Concierges often have the abilities to locate tickets to sold-out shows or get a reservation for booked restaurants.
  • Quick-thinking and problem-solving skills – lost luggage? Tickets to a sold out concert? No problem.
  • Specialization of service.

How Does the Concierge Decide What to Recommend to Guests?

  • Personal experience. The Concierge makes recommendations based on personal experiences and connections. Most Concierges have done their research, and will not suggest an activity that does not meet his or her standards of satisfaction.
  • Ask questions. The Concierge will make it a priority to understand the guests’ preferences, interests, budget, schedule and any other special requests to ensure the suggested activity fits the bill.
  • Monitor for trends. With the rise of technology, guests are always looking for the next “cool” experience to share on social media.

What Are The Trending Experience Requests?

  • Micro-breweries and local wineries
  • Fitness recommendations
  • Healthy dining options
  • Local experiences
  • Day Trips

Concierge Profile: Concierge Leo Wang

Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund, by Hilton Worldwide

Q: How did you come to be the Concierge at the property? 

A: I joined the Concierge Team after graduating from school. My Concierge working experience started with a role as Doorman, which helped me to gain information about the city. I then became an Airport Representative & Bellman. When I joined Waldorf Astoria Shanghai as Bell Captain, I used my previous working experience to build and train the Concierge Team. I also became a “Les Clefs d’Or” member in 2012.

Q: What “experiences” are your favorites to create when families are looking for something special while staying at the property?

A: On one occasion, a family from abroad wanted to visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, but they only had a few hours left before catching their flight. When they arrived to the Oriental Pearl TV tower they were met with a long queue and a waiting time of approximately three hours. The child was very disappointed. As I knew the guests quite well, they called my personal mobile phone to ask for help. Although I was off on that day, I took a taxi to the Oriental Pearl TV tower, while calling a friend of mine who worked there. I met them at the queue and explained that I already made contact with my friend, but I was not sure if he could help. After working together with my friend, we arranged VIP passes for them and they were very happy, even though they had to pay over double the price. The family thanked me for the assistance, they took a picture with me and I wished them farewell under the Oriental Pearl TV tower. The guests also left a “thank you” letter to me and promised to stay with us again once back in Shanghai.

Q: For couples looking for a unique way to experience the property and destination, what would you suggest?

A: Our modern French restaurant “Pelham’s” provides high quality dining experiences. The Waldorf Luxury River Suite has a great view of the Bund that can be enjoyed from the bed. Housekeeping can arrange beautiful flowers for couples in either the room, or one of the restaurants. We at Concierge could also assist in organizing special arrangements according to the couple’s preferences. For our guests to enjoy a unique experience, it is the coordinated effort and passion of the entire team at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, not just one person or department. True Waldorf Service.

Concierge Profile: Concierge Alan Vernier

Trianon Palace Versailles – A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, by Hilton Worldwide

Q: How did you come to be the Concierge at the property?

A: I worked as a Concierge for many years in prestigious hotels throughout Paris. When I decided to join the Trianon Palace Versailles, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it was first of all because of its unique location. Located just on the edge of the Château de Versailles, the hotel also has its own history. For example, I love to explain to our guests that the Treaty of Versailles was drafted in our historic Clemenceau Ballroom in 1919. It is a real honor for me to work in such a spectacular destination and to share this on a day-to-day basis with our guests while creating unforgettable experiences.

Q: What “experiences” are your favorites to create for families looking for something special while staying at the property?

A: When we have the pleasure to welcome little kings and queens to the hotel, I love to suggest a very fun activity with our “Treasure Hunt Book.” I give them an imaginative game book we created around our exceptional settings. From the hotel grounds to the gardens of the Château de Versailles, they have plenty of places to discover in order to fill their book and know everything about the destination. They have fun, learn a lot about French history, and can go back home with great memories to share with the whole family.

Q: For couples looking for a unique way to experience the property and destination, what would you suggest?

A: Among the numerous unforgettable experiences our destination can offer, my suggestions would be a romantic boat ride on the Grand Canal or horse drawn carriage drive in the Château de Versailles Park. Perfection!

Visit to view the Fall 2016 Issue