For many people, the term concierge evokes the hustler Michael J Fox played in For Love or Money or the staid M. Gustave in The Grande Budapest Hotel. A concierge belonged to a mysterious world reserved for those with money and privilege that few will see.
The truth is much more straightforward. Here at Blue Ribbon Transportation, we believe everyone who rides with us is a VIP. But for those who may be experiencing this type of service for the first time, we want to pull back the veil. Here are some tips that will help every traveler get the finest service in Florida and across the globe.
It’s a Calling
Concierges are there to assist. They take delight and joy in helping people in whatever way they are able. Their goal is to help make your travel experience a happy and memorable one. That’s everything from recommending the best steak in town, to getting you a ride, to tickets to the hottest shows.
Concierge service providers are trained professionals, often with years of experience and well developed industry network relationships. They have worked hard to develop contacts and are happy to utilize them to make your visit to their town the best it can be, from the most mundane to the excitingly exotic.
Communicate – Specifically
The more specific you can make your request, the better chance the concierge can assist. Vague questions and requests are not to your advantage. When asking about a restaurant reservation, purchase, event booking or more, explain in detail to the concierge what you do like and what you don’t. In fact, preferences are better than aversions. That way, even if they can’t get you tickets to Hamilton, they can probably offer you alternative options so you’re not disappointed.
You can also share with the concierge the purpose of your visit and the flexibility of your schedule. If you’re there on business or pleasure, they’ll make sure your needs are met. They’ll also have the connections to get you the best prices on shows, museums and more. And they can help you plan the necessary travel time so you’re not late.
If you’re not booking your hotel at the last minute, your needs don’t have to wait until you arrive. While the concierge has a demanding job, you can and should reach out a couple weeks to a month ahead of time. You can let your concierge know your preferences ahead of time and begin building a relationship with them. Then, call your concierge on the morning of your arrival and reconfirm your arrangements, stating that you’d like to ‘preassign’ or ‘block’ your requested options.
Here’s a hint: concierge providers are usually most busy in the morning and late afternoon. Contact them between noon and 3pm or after 8pm at night for more in-depth discussions of your request.
In Good Time
You’ve heard the phrase, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”? This is especially true with concierges – especially if you have an extra special request. The more time they have to fulfil your request, the better chance it will happen.
As much as a concierge wants to keep you happy, you have to be realistic. While they do sometimes pull a rabbit out of their hats, they aren’t actual miracle workers. Sometimes sold out is exactly that – sold out. Sometimes it means it’ll cost you a little more. Trust that your concierge has your best interests at heart and will do what they can. But sometimes things just aren’t workable.
Build a Relationship
A concierge is a professional there to help you and they should always be treated with dignity and respect. Even if you’re only in their city for a few days, they are a valuable resource that shouldn’t be taken for granted. If you are a frequent traveler, they can be one of your best assets every time you’re in town.
Just like any relationship, the stronger the connection, the better they can remember and will go the extra mile to meet your needs. Building a relationship also gives the opportunity for the concierge to suggest a restaurant or activity that you may not be aware of that they think you will like. It’s a two-way street.
Avoid complaints and always be sure to thank the concierge for their time and effort – even if they’re unable to assist you.
Pro tip: Look for concierges with crossed keys on each of their lapels. This is a symbol of Les Clefs d’Or, the professional association of hotel concierges. LCD is the gold standard for concierges.
Tip of the Morning
Finally, a quick word on tipping. First, try to know if tipping is allowed and/or expected. Generally, unless it’s against hotel policy or cultural norms, tipping is expected for good service. For great service, experts recommend tipping half up front when you make the request. If the staff knows you’re a good tipper, they’ll work extra hard to ensure you get what you want, when you want it.
Generally, your tip should be relative to the time spent on each request. If he helps you with a minor task that takes several minutes of his time and some effort, a tip of a few dollars, up to $10 is sufficient.
Then there are those extra special tasks: access to a ‘sold out’ show, last minute fine dining reservations, full day itinerary planning, or a special room delivery for your significant other. Use your own discretion, but anything from $15 to $100 may be appropriate. Make sure you show your appreciation, and your concierge can be your greatest ally.