FOH INSIGHTS: Four Seasons Beirut's Nour Kanaan

The concierge supervisor reveals a dream to set up her own company

Four Seasons Hotel Beirut concierge supervisor Nour Kanaan.
Four Seasons Hotel Beirut concierge supervisor Nour Kanaan.

The youngest member of Les Clefs d’Or, Four Seasons Hotel Beirut concierge supervisor Nour Kanaan, reveals her dream to set up her own luxury concierge services company

What does it take to become part of Les Clefs D’Or?
There are several membership requirements in addition to having at least five years’ hotel industry experience and at least three years’ experience as a full-time, lobby-level concierge in a hotel. Candidates must be at least 21 years of age and obtain a written recommendation by their hotel’s general manager, usually based on your personal effort and dedication to work at this level.

Being a part of Les Clefs d’Or is a dream come true for any concierge member. You need passion for work and your country; you must work hard from one day to the next and create your own signature approach with your guests to be among the chosen ones.

Why do you think you are the first female member from Lebanon?
The concept of the concierge is new in Lebanon and people need to be educated about it to increase interest – this is necessary not only to get more women but even more men to join this vocation. There are only four members in Lebanon and we don’t have a separate chapter yet. But hopefully this will change in the near future and open more doors to Lebanese members to experience this great phase in their career.

What are the most common guest questions and complaints you receive?
The most common questions are about the destinations, dining places and if the country is safe. Most of our complaints usually stem from third-party services or external experiences that we cannot fully control, because they are sometimes not up to our guests’ expectations.

How is the role of the hotel concierge evolving?
It is evolving because we are at the heart of the guest experience whether it is for leisure or business. We help the guest find what he truly needs and expects from this destination. The concierge is all about connection, and a certain matrix is being created nowadays with restaurants, night clubs, travel agencies and so on.

The Middle Eastern traveller in particular is demanding more sophisticated services and the role of the concierge in five-star hotels is becoming more important. Moreover, GMs find it mandatory to have a Clefs D’or member on their team.

How do you incorporate new technologies into your role?
The most important part of the service provided by a concierge is the interaction with the guest and our connections; you must be able to make the guest live the event before experiencing it. Recently, iPads are complementing our work by providing visual examples for the guests to see and get a better idea of what we are speaking about.

What are your thoughts on automated check-in?
It is a good idea for some hotels, especially business hotels and it can help in terms of time. However, at five-star hotels it will compromise the relationship between the guest and staff, which is a very big part of the guest experience.

Having achieved so much already, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I strongly believe that in order to succeed in one’s job you always have to aim for the highest position you can achieve in an organisation. In my case I aim to become GM in the long run, however, I also have a dream to open my own luxury concierge services company.

Five ways to incorporate ssocial media into the concierge role...
1. Create a Twitter account for the concierge and engage in direct concierge-related interaction with guests live on Twitter.

2. Have a Pinterest page for the hotel concierge, with boards about city news and the best or exclusive places to visit, the packages we offer, etc.

3. A Facebook page linked to our hotel’s main Facebook page to share daily news, concierge recommendations, images and more interesting ideas.

4. Use Instagram — the concierge can take pictures of restaurants to build interactivity on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Social media video interaction is a Four Seasons’ initiative across all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube).

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