Everyone’s A Winner:
What’s Happening In Vegas Should Not Stay In Vegas
© Holly Stiel
They continue talking with the guest and asking questions instead of just answering them. “Are you interested in going to a show? (Pause for the answer). May I tell you about our shows?” She then books the tickets on the spot. Next the concierge will inquire about their dining plans, asking probing questions -- to match the guest’s vision with one of the many fabulous restaurant venues in the MGM/ Mirage family. So now, a spa appointment has become show tickets, dinner and perhaps an airport pick-up. There are also possibilities for booking tours, room service deliveries, club passes, etc.
Jeannie has had spreadsheets designed along with her Go Concierge software system that tracks all of this business. She has quantified how much business her department is capturing and generating for the hotel. At last count, just with the in-house referrals, it is in the multi-millions of dollars a month. Yes, you read that correctly -- it is millions of dollars a month, not a year. This all gets accomplished without the frenzy associated with the old way of operating a concierge department -- a phone in each ear, calls on hold, not being able to answer a question in a full sentence before a ringing phone interrupts the flow. Add to that the onslaught of email waiting for an instantaneous response, and the overwhelmed concierge is hard pressed to serve all the in-house guests and outside callers, let alone think about cross-selling and up-selling.
It isn’t just reservation system technology that is being utilized by the concierge at The MGM Grand. Now, when a guest calls to request extra towels or a different pillow type, the concierge puts the request into the computer and it goes directly to the housekeeper responsible for that particular area. The housekeeper in turn enters into the computer that the task has been completed, thus eliminating the steps required to call and request it, then have housekeeping page the responsible party, then have the concierge call the housekeeper to make sure it has been done and then in some cases, call the guest to make double sure it was taken care of. Four steps have become two. It is the same for Lost and Found, and packages.
Jeannie and MGM management also believe in training. Jeannie, of course, trains on all those computer systems. She also includes grooming, culinary, culture, diversity, and personal development skills. The ROI is proving to be substantial. So much so that the MGM just took two stations out of the front desk to be turned into concierge stations. Now that is a radical shift in point of view!
Does this technology come with a cost in terms of personal service? Just the opposite – service keeps getting better and better. When I worked in a busy hotel we used to “punch the lines,” i.e., serve punch to guests waiting to check-in. Now, the idea of “punching the lines” has been seriously punched up. The same type of technology that is used so successfully at car rental returns is now being utilized to work the lines at concierge desks. There is a floater or two armed with a notebook/pad portable computer, equipped with wireless Internet access that is compatible with a nearby printer. This mobile concierge can expedite guest requests thus virtually eliminating or at the very least, substantially reducing waiting time.
I recognize that technology is only as good as the people that use it. If that is true, it follows that the concierge department -- the one area completely dedicated and devoted to providing guest service, with no other agenda or job description – is the place to invest in training. They are the perfect employees to pioneer and model the combination of connecting in the heart with the wizardry of technology.