Hotels offer offbeat concierge services to keep guests coming back

Crawfish concierge at Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.

Supply: Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

Pantelis Evangelou is a guest solutions supervisor at the London Marriott Park Lane, but to youthful visitors, he may well be improved recognised as the hotel’s teddy bear butler.

The lodge provides a teddy-bear themed concierge support to youngsters that is involved with suite bookings or out there as an insert-on for a fee of roughly $50. Following a kid chooses an selection from the hotel’s menu of 11 themed bears, Evangelou arrives at the doorway with a stuffed animal prepared for adoption.

“It really is up to me to make the introductions, which means that I require to know the names and tales powering just about every and every bear, as nicely as their distinctive characteristics,” he said, noting that the out there bears array from airline pilots to traditional London Beefeaters, the ceremonial guardians at the Tower of London.

The hotel concierge has customarily been the all-figuring out go-to for friends in search of insider expertise of a metropolis and access to coveted theater tickets or evening meal reservations. But now, tourists get can suggestions and recommendations for dining establishments and points of interest in a new town from their smartphones.

So somewhat than ditch the concierge desk totally, “lodges are now schooling their concierges to offer novel, custom made, higher price and proprietary solutions to delight their attendees and hold them coming back,” claimed Chekitan Dev, a professor at Cornell University’s College of Hotel Administration.

Teddy Bear Partnership with Hamleys and London Marriott Resort Park Lane.

Resource: Wonderhatch

The pattern comes at a time when inns are confronted with escalating level of competition from the residence-sharing marketplace with the likes of Airbnb and Expedia Group’s Vrbo. Featuring niche providers is a minimal-price way to stand out to the consumer and also generate extra income. The solutions can be totally free or value guests up to a handful of hundred dollars.

Vacationers booking hotel stays will now locate concierge and butler expert services accessible for every thing from caring for pets and deciding upon a hashish working experience to employing the in-home hearth.

As an case in point, Dev cites his keep at The Benjamin in New York Metropolis, where by the sleep concierge served him get a very good night’s sleep by giving specific pillows to assist with again soreness, a humidifier to counter dry air and a white sounds equipment.

A lot of other accommodations are presenting curated services that are similarly hyper-centered and offbeat. The surf concierge at the Westin Los Angeles Airport presents surfing classes, when a crawfish concierge delivers peeling assistance through situations at the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans.

In Canada, the skate concierge at the Westin Ottawa prospects free guided scenic skate excursions alongside sections of the Rideau Canal Skateway, even though the Fairmont Vancouver Airport’s fish valet tends to make sure prized catches are appropriately stored in a distinctive on-web page freezer in the course of layovers.

“Specialty concierge services are not new,” suggests hotel business analyst Bjorn Hanson, “But in the very last a few or 4 several years the craze has been an enhanced quantity of classes, an enhanced selection of resorts and resorts giving these companies and an improved sophistication in how the services are delivered.”

The craze is also for these companies to be labeled as “concierge” even although they may not be sent by a accredited concierge.

“I have no notion what a hashish concierge or a fish concierge might be carrying out for the reason that we will not see that in our group, explained Sara-ann Kasner, CEO and founder of the Nationwide Concierge Affiliation, an business trade team. “But I can convey to you that utilizing the title of concierge is a intelligent small business go for the reason that folks truly do think concierges have the within scoop on anything.”

Raffles Hotels & Resorts locations in Paris, Istanbul, Warsaw and Jakarta have art concierges on staff who conduct free excursions of the hotels’ museum-high-quality art collections.

And as the curator of curiosity at Gateway Canyons Vacation resort & Spa in Colorado, Zebulon Miracle provides historical past and geology tours, which include dinosaur monitor excursions, for $35 to $250 for every person.

“There are so quite a few great tales and intriguing science located in the canyon place,” reported Miracle. “If my workforce does their task ideal, friends will leave not only understanding far more about the spot but will also be encouraged to become curious about their very own households.”

Zebulon Wonder, Curator of Curiosity at Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa

Resource: Curiosity at Gateway Canyons Vacation resort and Spa

In some scenarios, hotels are partnering with other corporations to offer you customized companies. In Portland, Ore., the Provenance Lodges partners with a florist to curate a menu of in-space loaner vegetation at its Woodlark lodge. At its Dossier house, a partnership with a regional retailer permits an adventure valet to outfit visitors with free of charge loaner backpacks containing trekking poles, headlamps, waterproof mobile phone cases and other practical hiking objects.

“The natural way, with all the new lodges out there, we want to present some thing new to seize guests’ attention,” stated Kate Buska, Provenance Inns vice president of model advancement and communications, “But we’re not chasing the shock and awe of matters like the ‘walk of shame’ kit in the honor bar. This is about assistance, activities, and offering guests items they can truly use.”

No matter whether they employ the service of or associate with a specialty concierge, butler or on-web site curator, “a lot more hoteliers are at last being familiar with that they’re capable to make extraordinary special ordeals tailored to their guests’ certain interests,” mentioned Robert Cole of international journey investigate firm Phocuswright. “And those people activities are what drive visitor pleasure, return stays, referrals to buddies and very long-time period loyalty.”

From time to time, the payoff is far more very simple.

“One particular of my favorite memories is of a young guest that was so above the moon with her new princess bear that she ran back again to give me a significant hug right before I remaining,” mentioned Evangelou, the teddy bear butler at the London Marriott. “We can only envision what great adventures youthful attendees will go on to practical experience collectively” with their bears.

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Thai gilr living in New York and work as a part time editor on news magazines.