Every Tuesday, without fail, we throw a spotlight on one of the hidden treasures of the travel world – the concierge – but there’s a line of thought emerging which says we’re underutilising or even misusing this valuable resource.
Kenneth Abisror, the head concierge at Mandarin Oriental New York in New York City, echoes this sentiment, saying “A hotel’s concierge staff can help you fulfill a range of requests to make your trip that much better, but its services are often underused and sometimes misused”.
Speaking to the “New York Times” last week, Mr Abisror said there are several ways for guests to get the most out of what concierges can offer and offered some top tips to do just that:
Expand your ask – the sky’s almost the limit, if it’s legal and ethical. The Concierges we interview for our weekly ‘Ask The Concierge’ column unfailingly respond ‘restaurant reservations, tickets and tours’ to the question about what is the most-requested thing asked of them. Mr Abisror challenges us to ask for assistance with tasks we may not expect, “such as finding a real estate agent in the city you’re visiting or even in another city, tracking down your lost luggage, making a doctor’s appointment and chartering a jet”.
Touch base before you get there. “Contacting your hotel’s concierge in advance of your stay has several advantages”, Mr. Abisror said. If you are looking to get a reservation at a trendy restaurant, making contact with the concierge ahead of time may enhance your chances of getting a seat at the table you want. It will also start the process of bonding with your new – but temporary – best friend and that never hurts. If you establish a good rapport and they know who you are before you walk through the revolving doors, that will stand you in good stead as they serve you throughout your stay.
Be sure of your requests or don’t make them. “Making a request that you’re not fully committed to not only shows bad manners but can also damage the concierge’s reputation if you back out at the last minute”, Mr. Abisror said. If a guest asks for a hard-to-get dinner reservation at a highly sought-after restaurant, the concierge may need to leverage their professional relationship with the maitre d’ to secure the booking. If the guest changes their mind and backs out, the concierge will burn a valuable contact, lose face and you’ll be in the bad books, too.
Trust a concierge to know what’s best – for you. “Guests commonly ask their concierge for ‘the best’, but in reality”, Mr. Abisror said “there may be several that earn the distinction”. “The most important criteria in determining the best is what is best for your taste,” he said, “and if you’re asking the concierge for help, convey your wishes and trust they’re giving you the optimal options.”
Tomorrow in ‘Ask The Concierge‘, we feature Thomas Munko, from the Ritz-Carlton Berlin.