What Is the Definition of a Concierge?

A concierge is available to provide hotel guests with an enjoyable stay.
A concierge is available to provide hotel guests with an enjoyable stay. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A concierge is available in a luxury hotel or spa to keep guests comfortable and pampered. In a nutshell, a concierge is a caretaker; he solves large and small problems for guests, whether it's getting Broadway tickets or delivering a message. According to "USA Today," this profession began in Europe in the early 1900s, but it was Thomas Wolfe who brought the concierge business back to the United States in the 1970s. In 1978, Wolfe opened the first American concierge agency, Les Clefs d'Or, which today has about 450 members. Since that time, hotels and resorts have hired concierges to meet a variety of customer needs.

General Local Information

If you've never visited a city before, your hotel concierge can be your lifeline. Do you need to find a good Italian restaurant, or a local jazz club? Do you need to find a forest preserve to take a hike? Your concierge will generally be a good source of information on these local questions. They can be particularly helpful with directions and information about public transportation, if you're in a large city.

Restaurant Reservations

A concierge will help you obtain reservations at a local restaurant, even at the area's trendiest spots. According to "USA Today," hotel concierges and restaurants usually have a beneficial professional relationship; if a concierge likes a restaurant, she will refer hotel guests to that restaurant often. Because she helps out the restaurant, the restaurant will then call that concierge when it has a cancellation. Hotel guests benefit from this by scoring reservations to some of the hottest places in town.

Activities and Entertainment

Do you need tickets to a sold-out concert or play, or a special outing for your kids in an unfamiliar city? Ask your concierge. He will often have creative solutions to your needs. Just like with local restaurants, hotel concierges have relationships with venues, shops, spas and theaters in the area, so they can arrange plans that the typical traveler or hotel guest cannot.

How to Work with a Concierge

Hotel concierges love to help their guests, but it helps when they know a little something about you. Introduce yourself to the concierge when you check in to the hotel, if she doesn't introduce himself first. Concierge desks are typically located in the hotel lobby, where they are available to guests. Large luxury hotels will have a head concierge who manages a number of other concierges, and many of them work long hours to meet guests' needs at all times.

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