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kenneth aBisror manDarin orienTal, new yorK
Years of Service: 19 | Organizational Affiliations: Les Clefs d’Or USA, NYCAHC How and when did I become a Concierge? Most of my work life has been in positions that include problem solving with patrons and guests. While working for an Incentive Travel Wholesaler and traveling with VIP groups, I spent much of the time attending to their needs and helping them experience the cities while on the road in the US. The personal interaction and problem solving came naturally and I was able to build trust and stay one step ahead of their requests. When the opportunity presented itself to become a concierge, I found the position ideally suited for me and what I loved to do—creating personal experiences. What does “being a Concierge” mean to me? While a concierge will sometimes answer simple questions and provide repeated direction, it is the way in which they deliver this information that makes them an asset to their hotels and guests. Each conversation is personal and, in order to deliver, a concierge must listen, understand, process and carry out requests that result in the utmost trust from the guests and hotel. When a concierge is driven by a sense of duty, and honesty, there is rarely a moment when a challenge cannot be overcome. Being a concierge also means that one surrounds themselves with like-minded colleagues that reinforce the same values and create a network of professionals that provide support and direction. The best concierges are a rare class, rarely feeling content unless they have succeeded in satisfying others—as it should be.
Frederick Bigler The Peninsula new yorK
Years of Service: 26 | Organizational Affiliations: Les Clefs d'Or USA, NYCAHC How and when did I become a Concierge? I was a condominium concierge at The Olympic Tower on Fifth Ave. from 1985 to 1991 when, one day, the chef concierge from The St. Regis wandered into the lobby. He asked if I was Les Clefs d’Or and I politely responded, “Lay Clay What?” He must have seen potential because weeks later I was opening The St. Regis, from 1991 to
1994, and have grown as a concierge, and then chef concierge, ever since. I have worked at The New York Palace, The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park and now The Peninsula New York. I have served twice on the Board of NYCAHC and am currently serving on the Board of Directors for Les Clefs d’Or USA. What does “being a Concierge” mean to me? Being a concierge/chef concierge comes with great responsibility. We are ambassadors to our hotels and community, confidants to our guests, supporters of our colleagues and friends and problem solvers to all. “People may not remember what you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel.” I live by this.
susanne carter The riTz-CarlTon new yorK, CenTral ParK
Years of Service: 12 | Organizational Affiliations: Les Clefs d'Or USA, NYCAHC How and when did I become a Concierge? When I first came to New York City, I worked at the front desk of The Pierre hotel. I became increasingly fascinated with the concierge position. At the time, only a few hotels in my native country had a concierge and none of them were female, so it had never occurred to me that this was a career path I might want to pursue. As I observed the interaction the concierges had with guests, I understood how important the concierge position is to guest service. When I accepted a position as assistant manager at the New York Palace, one of my areas of responsibility was the concierge desk and I began to
realize that being a concierge was my true calling. What does “being a Concierge” mean to me? The concierge position requires enthusiasm, patience, discretion, willingness to learn every day and anticipation of guests needs. As concierges, we have to possess the ability to find out in a very short time what each and every guest needs in order to give the guest the perfect experience. We are in the business of making memories. It is a great responsibility to be able to make or break the guests stay, but there is also a great sense of pride in taking ownership of guest satisfaction. As stressful as it may be at times, it is also the most rewarding position I have ever been in. When a guest comes back to tell me how much he loved his experience, I am always reminded how much I love what I do. A recent guest comment summed it all up: “The concierge desk was extremely helpful and welcoming. They should be commended—and act as the “anchor” of the entire hotel.”
carlos Freire TrumP inTernaTional hoTel & Tower new yorK
Years of Service: 33 | Organizational Affiliations: Les Clefs d’Or USA, NYCAHC How and when did I become a Concierge? While attending Hunter College for my Sociology degree, my uncle informed me that I needed to find employment. He was working with the Westbury Hotel as the head butcher. I was immediately hired as a dishwasher; later I became an elevator operator (white gloves) and eventually a bellman. These professionals have my utmost respect because their passion was engraved into my spirit. Two years later, the concierge concept was introduced to the Westbury Hotel, and our desk was born. There is a saying that states, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” I have the distinguished pleasure to introduce my teachers: Anthony Pike, Renato De La Noche and Tito Fornari. These
gentlemen, like Michelangelo, took a chunk of marble and chiseled away the rough edges. They introduced me to this art, which I am so fortunate to be a part of, and will forever be grateful. What does “being a Concierge” mean to me? I was fortunate to begin the study of the art of being a concierge 32 years ago and still continue to be a student to this day. As the hospitality industry evolves year by year, so does this profession that we are blessed to be associated with. To quote Bryan K. Williams, “Being a concierge is purely about anticipating, organizing and delivering exceptional service.” I would like to humbly add, “and to touch the hearts of every guest with a memorable experience that will ensure their return.” The concierge is driven by an unquenchable thirst and an unsatisfied hunger. They are indeed fueled by passion and commitment to ensure that every guest has that ultimate experience. The bridges that we build connecting to our guest are compiled with the elements of integrity, trust, assurance, diplomacy and professionalism.
Peter Johnson The Kimberly hoTel
Years of Service: 20 | Organizational Affiliations: NYCAHC, Les Clefs d’Or, NYC & Company, Screen Actors Guild How and when did I become a Concierge? I happily have more than 20 years experience in the concierge industry. I served as concierge at Le Parker Meridien from 1993 to 1996, and then was asked to become a member of the team at the Kimberly Hotel, where I am Chief Concierge. I have been with the Kimberly Hotel for 16 years. I am collaborator on two theatrical musicals, partnering with fellow concierges Raphael Pallais and Keoni Boyer. My memberships include Les Clefs d’Or USA, New York City Association of Hotel Concierges, NYC & Company, the Screen Actors Guild and the Creative Actors
Workshop. I have dubbed numerous foreign films and have had several productions at the Theater for the New City. What does “being a Concierge” mean to me? Being a concierge is a privilege to me. I live in one of the greatest cities in the world and I am able to enjoy the vast amount of cultural attractions, entertainment and cuisines available. I therefore can enhance a guest's visit by sharing my knowledge of these venues. It is a joy to see the excitement of a hotel guest when you recommend something from your own experience. It is a joy when they come back to you and praise your recommendation. To be able to shape and mold a visitor’s time in New York is quite an extraordinary thing. They go home with the memories you have helped to create for them. When we receive letters of praise after someone stays at our property and has called upon the concierge for services, we have an added bonus. We work very hard, accomplish many things and are very lucky to be able to do so!
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