Travel Tips: The Concierge

The insider local knowledge of a good concierge can make a standard city stay into a uniquely memorable one.

A great concierge can make a huge difference in not only a hotel stay, but how you experience your destination. Indeed they have the best insider knowledge and sometimes the best hook ups so definitely approach them and establish a relationship to get the best out of your stay.

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Email prior to arrival: I start a conversation with the Concierge even before my hotel arrival. Many times it is to set up a car transfer from the airport to the hotel, but many times I also try to get some particulars set up in advance. If you are traveling in a high season at a destination setting up restaurant reservations through the concierge before you arrive is a wise move, especially if you have your heart set on a specific or popular restaurant. Or perhaps getting tickets to local sight. I even ask for information like for example, in Venice, is it Acqua Alta season to know if I need to pack boots. Or if I am going to Rome and want tickets to the Vatican Museum can the concierge book that for me or is it best that I buy tickets myself online before I even get to Rome. So before arrival, sending an email to the concierge at your hotel is a great way to introduce yourself and get a head start.

Saying hello upon arrival: After I check in and have settled into my room, and before I head out the hotel door to begin exploring the city, I stop by the Concierge desk and say ‘hello’ and do a quick face to face. Check in on any per-arranged reservations or plans and discuss the possibility of setting up additional plans. This is a great time to discuss your likes and expectations of what you would like to see and do, as well as discuss their recommendations. You don’t have to set anything up in that moment but getting ideas early on makes it easier to get bookings to many places and events. Last but not least pick up a local map. Many times the Concierge will highlight certain sights along with orientate you to the city and how to find your way back to the hotel.

Checking in from time to time: If you’ve had a wonderful meal at a restaurant recommended by the Concierge or that he/she helped get that impossible to get seating, it is so nice for them to hear you enjoyed it. You are letting them know you appreciate their efforts and that it was a job well done.

Don’t forget to say ‘Thank you.’ It is proper to give a Concierge a little something by way of a tip for their work. Obviously that is voluntary and at your discretion but it should reflect the amount of work done and your appreciation of it. I generally give around 10 Euros per day of my stay in a luxury hotel IF several bookings were made, got given great recommendations and was well looked after by the Concierge. And yes, a bit more if everything was exceptional and friendly. If not much was done, perhaps a restaurant reservation or two, I will give much less, perhaps around 10 Euros for the complete stay of 3 days. Regardless of if you want to tip or not please still say ‘thank you’ in person as you check out. After all you might be coming back!

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