In Newsletter #56: Reconciling conflicting views of the future of concierge work | Our most popular articles of 2017 | Recommended reads for the holiday break.
A few days ago, Mr. and Mrs Smith’s blog sent our beloved concierge packing. In an article ominously titled “Killing the Concierge,” the author details Ian Schrager’s refashioning of the concierge into a hotel lobby jack of all trades, at his newly opened Public Hotel.
While the bundling of the concierge, front desk, and other lobby roles is no doubt a burgeoning trend, not everyone is convinced. Indeed, it was only a week ago we shared with our concierge community an article from The New York Times, which asked if there’s still a need for the hotel concierge. The author’s answer? Yes, there most definitely is.
As the paper of record points out, while digital advances suggest guests no longer need the expertise of a seasoned concierge, distilling our newfound abundance of information, personalizing the guest experience, and going the extra mile are still the province of concierge work.
If technology is making a difference to the concierge role, the Times writes, it’s in its ability to actually make it easier for concierges to do their job. And, fittingly, helping concierges via technology is something we’re hard at work on here at ALICE (as the piece’s author describes).
Indeed, it’s such a priority for us that we thought we’d make this our sign off post for the year. It’s been a big year for us at ALICE, but a definite highpoint was our acquisition of leading concierge software vendor GoConcierge. Joining forces with the GoConcierge team has been a real honor - we gained 12 dedicated new team members, a beloved brand, and thousands of passionate users. Leveraging this acquisition to provide our customers with the best of both services (GoConcierge, and ALICE’s own concierge software) is one of our big opportunities for 2018.
For those of you who have questions about the merger, we invite you to watch the part of our most recent webinar in which ALICE EVP Adam Isrow dives into what the acquisition means for our current and future customers. We’re also seeking members for our new Concierge Advisory Board. We invite concierges looking to have an open dialogue about our technology roadmap to write back to this newsletter to learn more.
When we sent the New York Times article to our concierge community, we were heartened by the responses, which reinforced our own thesis of the intimate and inimitable touch that concierges continue to provide their guests.
Read a selection of the responses we received below. We welcome more!
Also highlighted in this newsletter are a couple of our most read pieces from the last year, which we encourage you to read again. We’ll be issuing a follow up to our popular predictions for hotel technology in 2017 early next year, so stay tuned (here’s hoping we’ll be as right about 2018 as we were for 2017 ;) ).
Concierge, New York
I have to agree that we are very much needed for our guests. And yes sometimes guests come to the hotel with their already made plans, however they always come to us to verify things, from the smallest requests to the most complex ones, for example to change an existing reservations they couldn’t get their preferred time, for a last minute doctor, dog walker, shopping, tour, cars and many more.
Concierge, Huntington Beach
Of course, I can’t agree more! This past weekend I had one of my guests who wanted to enjoy his cabana by the pool however, realized the shirt he purchased in Los Angeles at the Grove still had the security tag on it.
Instead of having to spend his day solving this dilemma before his evening event, I was able to contact the store and personally drove to their local store and had the tag removed. As a result of having personal contact with the store the guest was provided with a gift card for a future purchase.
I don’t believe a text could have solved this.
Concierge, New York
I absolutely agree that technology cannot replace the human experience. If fact, it often creates more work for concierges as so many of the programs are incorrect or misleading. We end up fixing a lot of mistakes. People are not able to judge how good a seat their theater ticket will be for a show, if a menu suits their needs, or all the hidden treasures we know about. I could go on and on but there is nothing that can replace experience. I am happy to hear about the teaming with Go-Concierge.
I agree, an app will never replace a great concierge, it seems the more apps people have the more they need our help to filter the info.
I personally would hate to see the day when we lose the one on one interaction between humans. There is already too much disconnect in my mind!!!
And really when is the last time an App actually went on a hike on it's own or actually ate dinner at the restaurant!!
I enjoyed reading the article, which includes a lot of name of Concierges who I know.
Indeed, the technologies dramatically changes our work of Concierge.
The same things happen in Japan as well and our daily operations are getting busier in replying emails.
Now my team is using GoConcierge, and this kind of technology enables us to work efficiently which reduce my team’s overtime to nearly half.
I believe that the technology can be our tools and it can support our operations, but still there are lots of needs and requests that human need to be done.
Especially in Japan, many of restaurants and agents do not want to contact with the guests directly but want Concierge to be in between the communication due to the language barrier.
Of course it can be covered by the technology but what Concierge is doing is not only booking a seat at the restaurant but more important aspect is creating a good relations, providing correct information of our cultures and customs etc and I believe it must be personal.
Concierge, Napa Services
Yes, I agree fully! Nothing like that personal touch that only a human can give.
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- Hotel Workspaces Evolve to Meet Needs of Guests, Public Hotel News Now
- The World's Biggest Starbucks Outlet is Also AR-enhanced Mashable
- Robots Will Transform Fast Food The Atlantic
- Forget Killer Robots, These Ones Mop Your Floors Bloomberg
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