What are the three qualities for an excellent concierge?
PassionYou must have boundless passion for customer service and attempt to do everything to better serve customers proactively, with dedication, tact, integrity, discretion, accuracy, and enthusiasm.
A strong intuition to determine the needs of the client and feel what they really want.
Being able to stay on the lookout for all that is new, and a thirst for learning in order to consistently improve service. Excellent cultural knowledge and proficiency in several foreign languages facilitate contact with my clients.
What does “Les Clefs d’Or” symbolize?
A Concierge who is a member of Les Clefs d’Or is a quality and excellence guarantee in the domain recognized by international guests who frequent luxury hotels around the world.
Les Clefs d’Or is a not-for-profit professional concierge association consisting of 3,500 global members (in luxury hotels) in 43 countries on 5 continents. The number of countries with membership continues to grow each year. Through this sharing-based union, concierges exchange ideas, experiences, and valuable contacts during monthly meetings with their respective regions, and national and international conferences with the goal of offering superior service. It is a beautiful community of passionate individuals who unite to help each other and provide unparalleled service! Our motto: Service through friendship.
Quebec is a shining light at the heart of this beautiful association with our exiting International President, Virginia Casale, and our National President, Hugo Legrand, who are based at the Sofitel Montreal in the Golden Square Mile!
What does it take to become concierge in Les Clefs d’Or?
Only the most experienced and dedicated can one day hope to proudly wear the famous golden keys on their uniform. A concierge must have a minimum of 5 years experience in-hotel and 3 years experience as a full time concierge to apply. In addition to working hours, the applicant must attend a minimum of 8 monthly meetings per year, and be involved in the association in various ways. He or she must pass a certification exam. Evaluations are conducted by peers through phone calls, emails, and mystery shoppers. After a brief presentation to the candidate’s regional Clefs d’Or members, a vote takes into account the professional conduct and ethical standard of the candidate, as well as the final score of the various tests and evaluations. If he or she succeeds, the application is submitted to the Executive Committee of Les Clefs d’Or Canada who formally recognizes the candidate.
Describe a typical day
It is difficult to describe a typical day, because every day is unique to the hotel. Always be prepared for all kinds of situations in this business, and be able to adapt to the moment, and to the unexpected. Most of all, be resourceful.
Between meeting the demands of future customers and those in house, either in person, by phone, or email, the concierge is the center of the hotel, as we facilitate the link between the different departments, where information must flow clearly so that the client experiences a memorable stay. This is where prioritization and good intuition takes precedence! We often have meetings, business 5 à 7’s, and multiple invites in addition to daily duties. We do not work 9-5, and our responsibilities go well beyond our working hours.
Tell me about your strengths, and your network of experts?
I’m passionate about people in general and I think my clients recognize this right away. I quickly establish a bond of trust and complicity with clients who feel at ease through our interactions. My colleagues often tease me about my laugh, because it is strong, sincere … and I laugh often! It is a pleasure for me to serve my clients, I LOVE IT!
Since I have traveled and lived (for several years) in over thirty countries, I adapt well to a global clientele, and, when possible, I serve them in their mother tongue, and they enjoy that a lot! With the combination of Les Clefs d’ Or and my years of experience, I have been able to build an excellent network of contacts in Quebec and around the world. Over the years, I have developed a great relationship with restaurant owners and tourism businesses in Quebec City. I know they all work very hard for our customers. With a network of more than 3,500 concierges around the world, the customer benefits from the expertise of people who all hold customer service to the highest esteem.
Tell me about your most unusual request?
Although I have had several very special requests from international celebrities, my most unusual story goes back to when I was the right hand of my mentor, Sandrine Bonnet, who is now concierge at Capitale Hélicoptère. We received a request from talented photographer Holly Wilmeth through the Price family, owners of the Auberge Saint-Antoine. We were to find twenty cult objects representing Quebec. We had a few short days to find the items on her list including, among others: stuffed snowy owls and cecropia butterflies, rare artifacts, Native American tribal masks, a gramophone horn … It was like playing a treasure hunt in your own city!
Since then, every time I visit the rooms of the Inn, I remember this story, because we have photos of each find displayed on the walls!
Here are the fruits of our labour: http://www.hollywilmeth.com/shop/found-objects-quebec/
What are the limits of your job?
There is no limit as long as the law and code of ethics are respected. This is the standard.
What is your best action plan when having to deal with difficult demands?
Meeting demanding requirements are my greatest victories. The key is in customer approach, but once trust is established, one must proceed with precision and efficiency. Demanding requests are often very specific, because the customer knows what he or she wants, so you must be able to deliver as expeditiously as possible. It is in these moments that my network is of paramount importance. The impossible is always possible, and for miracles, please wait 24 hours. 🙂
What do you do to compete with the net?
I see the Internet as a tool rather than a rival! This is a question often asked in my profession, but the consensus is clear … customers can certainly do their research on the web to prepare for their trip, but the vast majority of them validate their choices with us. There is nothing better than speaking with a concierge ‘in person’ as a local resource. We are of course present on the net, with a concierge blog, like mine, as well as on social media.
The best concierge in the world according to you is: _______________ and why?
I need to say Les Clefs d’Or 🙂
Because you already know how we treat our work, as both a vocation and our life, with the sole desire to serve our clients better. A network of over 3,500 friends from around the world also supports you!