THE BLOG

Concierge Etiquette

07/11/2013 04:22 pm ET

The ultimate goal of a hotel concierge is to offer an exemplary customer service experience to their hotel guests. This may include: securing hard to get reservations, offering site seeing suggestions, and making hotel guests' overall stay comfortable and worry free. The French term "Concierge" means "Keeper of the Keys," and he or she must be an authority on current social events and local information. Everything from what is showing at the theatre, to where to order the best flowers and which dry cleaner provides the most prompt delivery service. In order to best utilize the concierge service, a guest should be aware of what a concierge is, and what he or she is not:

  1. The concierge is not an elite service offered to only a particular set of guests. The concierge service is available to everyone staying at the hotel, and he or she is delighted to assist you with your specific requests. Yes, even your teen can ask for information and will be treated with equal respect and the utmost care.
  2. The concierge is a relationship builder. A concierge must feel comfortable interacting with guests from cities and countries around the world. Most often he or she is fluent in multiple languages and knowledgeable about international customs.
  3. The concierge is a confidence keeper. He will make arrangements on your behalf at a 5 star restaurant, ensure your flowers are delivered and have your special gift delivery arrive at the perfect time as a birthday surprise for your wife. He or she will also keep it in the deepest of confidence if she suspects and attempts to break the code of trust.
  4. The concierge generally accepts gratuity. Best to offer a tip after each service, rather than at the end of the stay. You will undoubtedly be treated with kid gloves either way, but knowing that their efforts will be appreciated and reciprocated tends to increase the level of service provided. Don't leave it in the hands of anyone but the concierge or at the front desk in a sealed envelope labeled with the concierge's name.
  5. The concierge is not an ATM machine. Don't ask your concierge to make change for his or her own tip. It's awkward to hand someone a 20 dollar bill and ask for 15 dollars back in small bills.
  6. The concierge is a skilled multitasker and often a miracle worker. A simple request does not require a tip, but multiple requests, or hard to get theatre tickets or dinner reservations warrant a tip from 5 to 25 dollars and upwards.
  7. The concierge is appreciative of a heads up. Give the concierge ample warning if you know you want to attend a particular hard to get into venue. If you know you will be flying in next Friday, and want to get a reservation at a restaurant that has a 3 month wait list, hope for the best, expect to make a plan B and show appreciation.
  8. The concierge will not go against hotel policy. Check the tipping policy of the hotel. As a matter of fact, if you are in a different country, do some research before you put yourself in an uncomfortable and embarrassing position. For example, in Japan you would not tip anyone, as it would be seen as rude and unsophisticated. Don't insist a concierge, or any part of the hotel staff, go against hotel guidelines.
  9. A concierge is not in the habit of splitting tips. If you have employed the assistance of more than one concierge, tip each person for their services individually. Tipping only one, then asking him or her to split it with their colleague is not appropriate or acceptable behavior.
  10. A concierge enjoys an occasional surprise of their own. Guests that visit on a regular basis, and have developed a warm relationship with their concierge may want to show their gratitude by bringing a small token of appreciation from their home town. A box of candy from your home state, a piece of handcrafted art from a local fair, a book you have personally written and signed, or a gift card to a favorite coffee shop is a nice touch that goes a long way in showing your sincere gratitude for a job well done.