post by : oriane.gachet
In this summary, we will see how a role figure of the hotel industry, the concierge, is evolving.
First, what is a concierge? A concierge is a traditional key role in the hotel industry. He can be described as “the most outstanding interpreter of luxury service in hospitality”. His role is to provide services, information and advice to the hotel customers but also take restaurant, concert and other reservations for them. The concierge has also other qualities such as empathy and communication skills, as he is in direct contact with the customers.
More and more, the role of concierge is being replaced by various persons or by technology. In less luxurious hotels, the receptionist will often play the role of a concierge. Sometimes, hotels also hire concierge from specialised firms. These private concierges are not part of the hotel staff and therefore have no “memory” of the guests. They can’t build lasting relationships with frequent hotel customers. An example of a private concierge company would be John Paul, founded in Paris in 2008.
Nowadays with the democratisation of internet, more and more customers find information directly on the net. The concierge is only there to confirming and reassuring the guest on the information they already found. They are also expected to give personal advices which cannot be found on internet. More extreme situations occur when technology completely takes the role of the concierge. In Vancouver, the Opus hotel provides an example of a virtual concierge. Customers have a virtual contact with this concierge by answering questions on the internet. Based on their answers, the Hotel provides specific recommendations to the different customer micro-segments.
Robots are also being implemented in hotels’ hall to greet customers, answer their questions and take their reservations. The Connie robot introduced in Hilton hotels is a good example of this new concierge type.
As concierges are traditionally very important in the hospitality field, there is a big controversy around the fact of the concierges being replaced by robots. Virtual concierges are reducing costs and offer very effective customer satisfaction, but an interview shows that customers were still in need of human contact, especially for more specific services.
The future of concierges in hospitality is slowly disappearing but good news, post internet concierges are likely reorient themselves in other places like malls, apartment buildings, companies, etc. They might also cover new services like babysitting, grocery delivery, health care and so on to help people have a better balance between their professional and personal life.
Source: Bellini, N., & Convert, L. (2017). The Concierge. Tradition, Obsolescence and Innovation in Tourism. Symphonya. Emerging Issues in Management, (2), 17-25. http://symphonya.unimib.it/article/view/12561