Head concierge, Hoon Kim, hails from Korea but has thoroughly adopted Cape Town as his home since relocating here over a decade ago. He thrives on being plugged into the local scene, and has a particular love for the theatre and creative arts. During an informal chat, Hoon told me about his job at Cape Grace and who inspires him on a daily basis.
In a nutshell, a concierge is there to take care of guests needs big and small. It may be as simple as giving directions, securing a last-minute table at a sought-after restaurant or recommending the best place to have a Fair Trade coffee in a trendy cafe. In reality, the duties of a concierge often defy definition or description and requests have to be carried out as quickly and discretely as possible – often while guests are seated in front of you!
What makes the difference is remembering guests by name, every time they visit; being able to anticipate their needs, perhaps even before they have to ask; forging strong relationships with the rest of your team; and staying connected to everyone from restaurant managers and tour guides to top-end service providers.
Hoon says that his unofficial mentor and guru is the legendary Holly Stiel, a former hotel concierge from the USA who has turned customer service training and speaking into a lucrative career. Her words of wisdom, her books and lectures have had a powerful impact on Hoon’s own career. He was fortunate enough to meet her in person when she visited Cape Town not that long ago.
Share with us any tips you may have received from a hotel concierge?
Blog post by Jane Broughton
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