In all the traveling I've done in my lifetime, I don't know that I've ever utilized a hotel concierge to the full potential. But on my last trip to the UK, I changed that. During my stay at the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton in Scotland, I sat down with concierge Steve Fleming and Front of House Manager Jacob Calleya to find out all the things your concierge can do for you that you may not realize. They gave me a wealth of information (not to mention some great stories of what they've helped guests with over the years), and I put it together in a handy list, so next time you're on vacation, you can make the most of your hotel stay.
Here are the nine things your concierge can do for you, including the one thing Jacob and Steve wish more guests would ask for.
- Book a taxi. Steve said this is one of the most common requests they get, yet he thinks many people still don't realize it is something a concierge can do for you.
- Store luggage. If you arrive at your hotel too early to check in or need to check out too long before you're leaving town, the concierge can store your luggage — just ask!
- Book concert or show tickets. If you want to catch a concert, show, or even a sporting event while you're in town, check with your concierge to see if they can get their hands on tickets for you. Sometimes they even have special access to events and are able to get tickets you can't. "It's not for everything, but yes, sometimes we can get tickets that a guest cannot," Steve said. For example, when I was in London, I wanted to go to a soccer game but had no idea how difficult it was to buy tickets if you aren't local. I checked with my concierge at The Waldorf Hilton and lo and behold, he was able to find tickets for a sold-out game that I didn't have access to myself. It never hurts to ask.
- Help you back into your room if you lock yourself out. Hey, it happens to the best of us. If you lock yourself out of your room, the concierge can easily let you back in, and they're more than happy to be discreet about it if you prefer.
- Help you get dressed. "I actually helped a lady get into her dress for an event once," Jacob said when asked what his most unusual request was. "We can help you get zipped or buttoned or whatever you need."
- Create a custom itinerary. Perhaps one of the most customized things a concierge can do for you is plan an itinerary for your trip. All you have to do is give them some ideas of what you're looking for and a couple days to plan. "We had a guest in a wheelchair, so I called around the city to find as many wheelchair-accessible places as possible and compiled them all for her. That way, she wouldn't have to spend time looking for them when she got here," Steve said. And while he said he prefers to have a few days' notice, he can also whip something up on the fly.
- Pay you back for your loyalty. "We get guests who stay with us regularly, so we like to do what we can to help them out in return for their loyalty," Steve said.
- Make you feel special. My favorite story Steve told me was from when he was working at a hotel in London. He said he had guests who were wary about navigating the Underground but wanted to see the city and go on a boat tour. On his day off, Steve kept his concierge hat on, so to speak, and took the couple on a tour of the city, including taking the Underground and going on the boat tour they wanted. "I wanted them to be able to see London how they wanted to see it, regardless of some hesitations they had," Steve said.
- Plan a proposal. "This is the one we wish more people would ask us for help with," Jacob said. He went on to say the reason they love it so much is because it gives the entire staff the opportunity to be involved. "Housekeeping can dress up the room, the restaurant can prepare a special meal, the front desk can give them a personalized check-in and send up a bottle of Champagne; it's really special."
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