Concierge

The Job and What's Involved

ConciergeA concierge usually works as part of the front-of-house or reception team within a hotel or corporate organisation. Their job is to create a positive first impression of the organisation for guests, making their stay or visit more comfortable and answering questions.

They are also responsible for carrying out tasks such as:

  • Welcoming guests and directing them to the reception area.
  • Assisting with baggage.
  • Directing guests to different parts of the hotel.
  • Arranging currency exchanges.
  • Ensuring that guests receive their messages promptly.
  • Familiarising themselves with regular guests and their requirements.
  • Being aware of daily functions and events.
  • Dealing with the arrival of VIPs and groups.
  • Providing up-to-date information on the local area.
  • Booking tickets, travel, accommodation and taxis.
  • Dealing with customer requests.

Concierges check information on the internet and use a range of reference books, leaflets, brochures and maps to stay up to date with facilities and entertainment in the local area.

They usually work with a team of other concierges, reception and front-of-house staff. They may manage a team of hotel porters and door staff.

Concierges may also work for specialist companies in lifestyle management, providing concierge services for families or companies with busy staff. In this role, they are likely to have additional tasks, such as running errands, organising cleaners, doing shopping and pet sitting.

Concierges usually work 40 hours a week. 12-hour or rotating shifts are common, often including early mornings, late nights or weekends. Part-time work is uncommon.

Concierges are usually based in a reception area or foyer. They often have their own desk with a telephone and computer, but spend a lot of time standing or walking around.

Concierges may have to lift and carry heavy items, such as luggage. They may leave the hotel occasionally to complete errands and make arrangements for guests.

They usually have to wear a uniform, which is provided by the employer.

A driving licence may be useful.

The starting salary for a hotel concierge may be around £12,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Concierges are employed by hotels throughout the UK, especially four and five-star hotels in London and other cities. Other employers include large organisations, such as banks and law firms, as well as lifestyle management organisations.

Jobs are advertised in trade magazines, such as Caterer & Hotelkeeper, and Jobcentre Plus offices. Jobs may also be advertised in the local and national press, and there are many recruitment agencies that deal with catering jobs.

Education and Training

No academic qualifications are required to be a concierge. Employers look for applicants who are confident, articulate and well presented, with good local knowledge.

A basic ability to speak one or more foreign languages may be useful. Previous experience of reception operations, particularly in four or five-star hotels, is advantageous.

Young people usually start working in hotels as a porter or receptionist, or another front of house role, and become a concierge after gaining some experience. Apprenticeships in hospitality may be available.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Training is mostly on the job. Concierges build up contacts and knowledge of the local area as they progress.

Many organisations, particularly large hotel chains, have their own formal in-house training programmes that cover the necessary skills.

Trainees may be able to work towards a variety of nationally-recognised qualifications in travel and tourism, including NVQ's/SVQ's in Hospitality at Level 1 or Multi-Skilled Hospitality Services at Level 2.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A concierge needs to have:

  • Strong communication skills.
  • A helpful and polite manner.
  • Excellent local knowledge.
  • The ability to deal with people from different backgrounds and countries.
  • A professional and efficient manner.
  • Discreet and responsible approach.
  • The ability to remain calm.
  • High standards of personal presentation.
  • A good telephone manner.
  • Basic computer skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Supervisory skills for some posts.
  • A very willing and positive attitude.

Your Long Term Prospects

Concierges may work their way up to deputy head concierge, and then head concierge, or become front office manager or assistant general manager.

They may also move into other areas of the hospitality industry. They may be able to become a butler or move into the lifestyle management sector, possibly starting their own company.

There are opportunities to work abroad, especially with large hotel chains.

Get Further Information

Institute of Hospitality, Trinity Court,
34 West Street, Sutton, Surrey SM1 1SH
Tel: 020 8661 4900
Website: www.instituteofhospitality.org

People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
Website: www.people1st.co.uk

Springboard UK Limited,
3 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8LP
Tel: 020 7497 8654
Website: www.springboarduk.org.uk

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