Home' Scoop : Scoop 55 Autumn 2011 Contents 100 SCOOP Autumn 2011
FEATURE niche services
In lieu of the traditional business centre, laptops
are available through the concierge for use in the
guest lounge or in hotel rooms.
All rooms have coffee machines, and a pillow
menu offers magnetic, massag e, decompress, latex,
neck support and ‘just fit’ pillows.
“Anyone can build a beautiful hotel,” says
general manager Andrew Farnfield. “But it’s
the ser vice that gives a hotel soul. The luxury
element is delivered through g enuinely warm,
hospitable service that makes the guest feel
like an individual rather than a number.”
Andrew says g oing the extra mile is a daily
pursuit. “This week we had a guest who had
suffered from the flu and spent most of her
time in her room,” he says.
“On the morning of her departure, she
commented that she hadn’t really seen Perth
and she was genuinely disappointed. We quickly
ar ranged for the limousine to arrive 30 minutes
early and take her on a tour of the city before
heading to the airport.”
It’s the attention to detail that counts.
Regular VIP guests at the Parmelia Hilton,
for example, have their own Hilton bathrobes
embroidered with their names.
And for that home-away-from-home feel,
guests can borrow items including ceramic hair
straighteners, cufflinks, a bow tie, stroller and
children’s toys. The Hilton also provides themed
chocolate plates for special groups.
“We try and engage with all guests and
exceed their expectations,” says spokeswoman
Julia Clark. “Using their name and remembering
their preferences always impresses a guest.”
In the hotel g ame, the term six-star exists more
as a concept than a measurable reality. That hasn’t
hurt Amanresorts luxury boutique resorts, widely
considered to be the last word in understated
eleg ance. Perth will have its own Amanresort when
the Old Treasury Buildings are revamped. Expect
plenty of fawning. There’s an average staff-to-guest
ratio of 5:1, says Amanresorts spokeswoman Anjali
Nihalchand. The graciousness of service is in the
small things not the big ones, she adds, but you
can’t put them into a manual.
“A guest once told of how the staff helped her
to pack her things while she went to have lunch,
Anjali says. “When she g ot back to the room there
was a fl ower on each of her bags. It made such an
impression on her, yet it was only a small thing.
In essence we believe that the best service is a
genuine one,” she adds.
Time is money
Filipa Preston says jaws drop at dinner parties
when she mentions that she has a personal
concierge. “People don’t seem to outsource,”
she says. “And I need to outsource a lot.” A busy
executive and single mum to an eight-year-old
daughter, she has used the services of a personal
concierge for a number of years and thinks it’s a
necessity rather than a luxury.
“I think I can be more productive at work than
dropping off my dry-cleaning – I would rather pay
someone to do that. In the time saved I’m more
focused on what I’m really good at and where my
earnings come from,” she says.
Personal concierge services are an accepted
part of the landscape overseas, where they
have been growing exponentially for more than
a decade. The phenomenon has been quietly
blooming in Perth for a number of years.
A personal concierge can be hired by the hour
to do anything that needs doing – from sourcing
tradespeople to decluttering your home office.
“In an hour they can do five things, versus
me dragging my eight-year-old around and trying
to fit things in after work or before,” says Filipa.
“If I had to go and run all these errands my
life would be a nightmare. When I pick up my
daughter I like to focus on her 100 per cent
until I put her to bed.”
Jeff Pow agrees. A single dad with a corporate
lifestyle and three young children at school, he
says things are at capacity. “The challenge for
the modern person is just saying no and allowing
yourself a bit of space so that you can be a
parent,” he says. “It’s money well-spent if
a personal concierge does a task versus me
doing that task. How much do you value time
can I help you?
Personal concierge Sara Hall on the
life of a personal concierge.
What kinds of things fall into your orbit?
I’ve delivered home-door keys to a fly-in,
fly-out client who was locked out of his
secure building at 1am. I’ve done a ‘beer
run’ for a client who was hosting a large
event when they ran out. I’ve fed pets
for someone who had to travel interstate
at short notice. I’ve also searched pawn
shops for a piece of stolen jewellery.
Why do you do it?
I get a great deal of satisfaction in having
a job that revolves around helping
people, and that has such variety. One of
my clients had her daughter’s birthday
approaching and couldn’t find what she
wanted anywhere. It gave me a buzz that
we were able to find the gift in half an
hour and she could make her daughter’s
day. Some of the tasks might seem
mundane, but they’re varied and I get to
meet some great people. It’s easy to do
these jobs when you see the relief and
gratitude when they’ve been done!
What qualities do you need to be
an effective personal concierge?
Flexibility, reliability, a willingness to
take on challenges – and being able to
think creatively to find solutions. It’s also
essential to be a ‘people person’. Many
specialise in one area, as well as being
generalists. My area of expertise is home
and office organisation. There is no
training to be a personal concierge but
there are professional associations.
Are personal concierges here to stay?
Absolutely. Life isn’t getting any slower,
less complex or demanding. As more
people work towards a more satisfying
work-life balance, I think these kinds of
services will be in even more demand.
This is quite a new service in Perth,
but if trends overseas and interstate
are anything to go by, once people in
Perth are more aware of what we
can do for them, I think you will
start to see more and more personal
concierge businesses around.
build a beautiful
hotel, but it’s the
service that gives
a hotel soul”
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