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 Jointly Striving for Guest Satisfaction: 
The Butler and the Concierge
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by Osvaldo Torres Cruz,  December 2008

Guest satisfaction is the ultimate goal of most service strategies within the Hospitality industry. A satisfied guest means profit, as the guest is not only likely to return but his/her positive comments can attract new guests.

The level of satisfaction experienced by the guest is closely related to his/her personal criteria regarding the services provided; therefore, getting to know the guest’s needs, requirements and expectations, as well as his/her reaction to and appraisal of the solutions offered in connection with them, will contribute to providing customized services that guarantee total satisfaction.

Personalized assistance before, during, and after the guest’s stay provides vital information that contributes to ensuring total satisfaction. Within a hotel, all contact areas represent a source of highly useful information. However, we usually don’t know what type of information must be gathered, how it must be used to improve service, or which other areas it must be shared with. 

Every guest sends out messages during his/her stay; it is only a question of learning how to read them. The guest’s daily actions and attitudes reflect his/her habits, preferences and inclinations. Sharp observation, personalized contact, and common interests are the basic tools that the different Hotel areas can resort to in order to jointly get to know the guest.

The guests’ final level of satisfaction with a certain tourist destination results from a combination of the micro- and macro-environments, so satisfaction must be guaranteed at both. Achieving the same level of satisfaction for the guest’s main environments creates a balance that will have an impact on the decision to return in the future.
 
Let’s focus on two positions that are highly relevant to customized service and complementary to each other regarding guests’ satisfaction in connection with the micro- and macro-environments:  the Butler and the Concierge. 
 
The butler’s job is mainly focused on the guest’s micro-environment, i.e., on creating the proper conditions within the Hotel to guarantee guests’ satisfaction. Through his daily assistance, the butler is able to gather data that contribute to creating the guest’s profile, applying and validating different service strategies as required and establishing a scale for the attributes of each service requested, thus determining different degrees of quality in connection with them. 

The Concierge is more focused on the guest’s macro-environment, i.e., on those activities that take place outside the Hotel: city tours, dining out, theater or movie tickets, meetings, reservation and confirmation of means of transport, and so on. At this level, the guest also provides considerable information for establishing his/her profile, which turns monitoring guest satisfaction in connection with these activities a relevant tool to guarantee guest comfort.

The preferences and requirements of guests within their micro-environment will have an effect on their macro-environment, and vice versa. Those guests who are very demanding regarding Hotel services will exhibit the same attitude toward services offered outside the hotel, and vice versa. The services and activities recommended within the guest’s macro-environment shall respond to the behavior patterns, preferences, and quality and satisfaction levels of each guest as detected through assistance within the micro-environment.

For example, a guest requests the butler to collect a shirt for laundry. The guest tells the butler that there is a red wine stain on the shirt. This is a common situation at a hotel but it is a valuable source of information that is sometimes overlooked.

So the butler asks the guest which kind of wine he had had. The guest tells him that he had had some Malbec, and comments that it happens to be his favorite. The butler then transmits this information to the concierge. The following day, the guest asks the concierge to make a reservation for dinner.  With the information provided by the butler in mind, the concierge recommends a restaurant that has an excellent wine list. When making the reservation, the concierge informs the restaurant about the guest’s preference. Once at the restaurant, the maître suggests the best Malbec on the list.

This feedback regarding the information gathered by the butler and the concierge during the guest’s stay makes it possible to prepare an increasingly detailed guest profile, which offers the possibility of providing highly personalized assistance that makes all the difference.

Cooperation among different hotel areas guided a common goal -to guarantee guest satisfaction- makes it possible to offer the guest a unique experience, generating the desire to repeat it. 

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Contact:

 Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Hotel Butler
hotelps@gmail.com

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Also See: Murphy's Laws Can Be Infallible in the Hotel Industry / Osvaldo Torres Cruz and Mariana Stachuk / October 2008
The Active Role of the Butler in Today's Hotel Industry / Osvaldo Torres Cruz / July 2008
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