Hotel concierge wearing a Relay, greeting guests.

Tips from the Concierge

Planning a trip this summer? With summer travel anticipated to be higher than in over a decade, you’re going to have lots of company no matter where you go.

Travel is on the increase in 2021

According to specialty insurance company Allianz Partners’ 13th annual Vacation Confidence Index, travel by Americans will pass the total spend will likely cross the $150 billion mark for a 160 percent increase over 2020 (and a 50 percent increase over 2019). Americans will also be spending more than ever on their summer vacations, with an estimated $2,122 spend per household.

People want a better travel experience overall

After about 15 months of restriction and varied degrees of lockdown, people aren’t only planning trips, they’re planning to travel in style. With all that upgraded travel, comes the expectation that there will be an elevated experience. And that’s where the concierge services come in.

From luxury home rentals to wellness concierges, nearly every hospitality-related industry is upgrading their concierge services. And concierge services range from the basic — asking a concierge at your hotel to help you secure tickets to a museum exhibit — to the absolutely bizarre. In early June The Daily Mail reported on some of the over-the-top concierge requests of users of the American Express Centurion card, AKA the Amex black card. One user was reported to have run out of ice, Amex’s concierge services dropped off ice cubes…via helicopter.

Advice from the concierge

We asked friends in the hospitality industry for tips on how to best take advantage of concierge services. We also found some great advice on the website of professional concierge Sarah Dandashy.

Of course every property’s concierge has different skillsets and responsibilities, so consider asking what the concierge does when booking your stay.

From booking you a spot at the hottest restaurant in town to helping you plan a romantic evening for two, concierges make your stays extra special. If you’ve never used a concierge before, you can try to ease in by following some of their advice or taking advantage of their services:

  • Wellness concierges: While individual health-related companies now offer help for medical travel, some hotels do as well. A resort wellness concierge can advise you on the best time of day for a hike, which yoga teacher matches your needs, or whether or not to opt for a massage and facial.
  • Can you workation? If you plan on spending some of your vacation time checking in with the office, a concierge can make it a more pleasant experience overall. From helping you find the perfect spot to set up your laptop with consistent wifi, to potentially connecting you with local entrepreneurs, your concierge can help make your working vacation feel less like work.
  • Finding you a pet or bicycle: We all have things that remind us of home. Some properties keep bikes available for guests while others might have a pooch around for guests to cuddle up to – you won’t know unless you ask. A concierge knows if you can have access to the on-staff pup if you’re feeling homesick.
  • Meal planning Here’s something we never knew, the on-property concierge can help those with special dietary needs work with the culinary staff to create a more customized menu.
  • Booking tips (book directly with the property): Believe it or not, you might not always get the best deal even when booking your trip through a deal finder site. Sometimes literally picking up the phone and talking to someone in the booking department could save you hundreds of dollars on your entire trip.
  • Buy travel insurance when booking your trip: Dandashy said that the best time to buy travel insurance is right when you’re booking your trip. If you’re not sure about the kind of insurance you need, try to factor in how much actual travel and hotel might cost, and also take into account whether you’ll be doing anything risky like skydiving. It’s a smart investment since you’ll be covered for things like medical emergencies and lost luggage.
  • Share your itinerary and contact information with them: Not to be overly paranoid, but anything can happen when you’re traveling. By letting the concierge know where you’ll be, you’re also informing them of when you should return. And if the worst happens, they can notify your family that you might be needing medical assistance. You can also ask the concierge if the hotel or property offers walkie-talkies for guests while out on all-day excursions.

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