Concierge makes the first and last impression for a hotel guest

Abey Sam, chief concierge at JW Marriott Marquis and national president of Les Clefs d'Or UAE, talks about the challenges a concierge faces and how the Concierge Mastermind of the Year competition will change things

Abey Sam the chief concierge at JW Marriott Marquis and the national president of Les Clefs d'Or UAE
Abey Sam the chief concierge at JW Marriott Marquis and the national president of Les Clefs d'Or UAE

Abey Sam the chief concierge at JW Marriott Marquis and the national president of Les Clefs d'Or UAE  believes that a concierge is a hotel guest’s best friend.

“A concierge is not just someone who checks a guest in and out. Rather, they are a dynamic source for every guest. They take care of them, their personal needs and are a touchpoint,” said Sam who explained why the role got his interest in the first place.

One of Hotelier Middle East’s partners for the competition is the concierge association Les Clefs d'Or UAE, the 80-year old international wing. However, joining the association is not easy, but “is rewarding”.

“For the first level of membership there is written test, then a panel interview and once someone gets selected they will be assigned a project,” he explained.

Sam’s project that got him a membership in the association is now part of JW Marriott Marquis’ most popular Dubai tour. “My project was about exploring Dubai in three hours, where we go to the old town and start the journey with a walking tour from Bur Dubai. It also involves a walk to the spice and textile souq. It gives the essence of Dubai,” he explained.          

When it comes to concierges in the UAE, Sam says that there are some properties that don’t have one. His advice to these hotels is to have a designated concierge desk.

He said: “Hotels need to have a concierge desk. A few properties think that they can replace a concierge with a different position and that one role can handle everything. But it’s not true. A good concierge is the first and last impression for a hotel guest, which is a very important.”

This is one of the reasons why Sam believes that Hotelier's Concierge Mastermind of the Year is a big plus.

“When I first heard about this competition, I knew we had to be part of it immediately. This competition will bring a lot of exposure to concierges,” Sam said.

“The highlight on concierges will also make brands focus more on the role. The end result of the competition will mean that hotels have the best concierge and at the end of it all, a guest will have a wholesome experience,” he added.

Challenges that concierges face

According to Sam, accessibility in UAE is a challenge for concierges, “Reaching out to certain restaurants and making bookings for our guests has been challenging. Accessibility to certain areas is not supported,” he explained.

“Collecting information is another challenge. If you’re not connected to our association or have local sources then you will not know more about the day to day happenings in the city. Then, you’ll only be handling day to day work at office. Concierges sometimes do have that attitude and don’t go out much and explore” he added.

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