ALICE interviews concierge Patrick Trevor on his thoughts on technology in the hospitality industry, providing the best recommendations, and how he creates everlasting memories for guests staying at Mr. C Seaport.
How did you get into the concierge profession?
I started doing concierge work before I even knew what a concierge was. When I was 12, I began volunteering at the local high school and cultural center, providing different recommendations to visitors who came through. After school, I started in the service industry in restaurants, working my way up from dishwasher, to line cook, to kitchen manager. From there, I decided to make the transition to the other side of the service industry – hotels. When I was working as a bellman at Smyth a Thompson Hotel, I received a rare opportunity to fill a vacant spot on the concierge team. I continued to grow my concierge experience there until Mr. C Seaport, a Cipriani family owned hotel, opened and they selected me to be a part of their opening team.
What keeps you interested in hospitality?
I have an unhealthy obsession with food, music, and Broadway shows, and I have a really big passion for recommending fun and unique activities to not only the guests that stay at Mr. C Seaport, but to my friends and family as well. So when I leave work for the day, my job is not done, I am always on the hunt for the newest restaurant, the coolest music venue, and the most anticipated Broadway shows.
How do you keep current with your recommendations?
Other than my concierge associations, which is a great way to gain local insights, I am a professional member of the James Beard Foundation. My membership allows me to attend different culinary events around New York City, sample different chefs, and rub shoulders with other foodies and restaurant leaders. During these events, I always try to get the inside scoop from the attendees on the newest and best restaurants at the current moment. Beyond that, sometimes the best way to get recommendations is hitting the New York City pavement yourself and discovering new experiences.
For a novice front agent who may not be the most comfortable making suggestions, it’s nice to have platforms such as like ALICE that can help them recommend a wonderful, unknown speakeasy within seconds, rather than the dive bar down the street with overpriced drinks.
What the best and most challenging thing about being a concierge?
I know this may sound contradicting, but sometimes the best and most challenging thing about being a concierge is the same thing. For example, a few weeks ago we had a family staying at our hotel and unfortunately the daughter was battling a critical illness. Our team was notified about the situation before the family arrived and wanted to help make her dream trip to New York a reality. So every day, our team did something special for them. We delivered fruit and breakfast pastries to their room, another day we provided complimentary food for our in-house restaurant, we even a got robe embroidered with their names as their parting gifts. Creating these precious moments for our guests is the most rewarding feeling, but on the other hand, you have to understand some guests will have limited time to relive the memories they create at our hotel, so we try to make it as special as possible at the moment.
What do you think of the impact of technology on the profession?
I’m not against technology, but I think the hospitality industry lies in the service, and when you start replacing people with computers you lose the genuine people-to-people feeling.
With that said, hotels are hectic, and technology can help us do our jobs more efficiently and increase our productivity. Technology helps eliminate the phrases “One moment please” or “We will get right back to you” from our staff’s vocabulary. It’s crucial in helping us find the correct answer, right on the spot.