International President Virginia Casale and Roberta Nedry in the Middle East.

The concierge must play an increasingly strategic role in the overall guest experience since that person serves as an extension of the general manager or senior executives of leading hotels, Hospitality Excellence Inc president Roberta Nerdy said yesterday.
She was addressing a workshop on training of concierges from leading five and four star hotels from GCC countries at the Intercontinental Doha yesterday.
The day-long training session titled ‘Professional Concierges of the Middle East: Inspiration in Doha, Qatar’ involved over 30 participants from Qatar, UAE and other GCC countries.
Nerdy said the hospitality industry is expected to create thousands of job opportunities in the Middle East as countries invest heavily in the tourism industry. This in turn has made it imperative for concierges to widen their skill sets even more and focus on leaving a lasting impression on guests who visit them.
Qatar is investing heavily in the tourism sector. According to a recent report, the Qatar Tourism Authority plans to invest $20bn on tourism infrastructure development as it prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Around 45,000 additional hotel rooms are expected to be added in the country and some 21 new hotels are planned to open between 2012 and 2017.
In her training sessions, Nerdy said the ability to truly deliver exceptional service does not automatically appear by simply adding the word concierge.
She stressed on the importance of being polite to requests made by guests and be wary of having an indifferent attitude. Little things like having an improper tone can turn a potential loyal guest into an angry customer.
Also, she stressed that one must not forget the last leg of a guest’s stay at a hotel. “I’ve heard people say that they had a great experience until the time they had to check out,” she said. She said check-out actually provides an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the guests.
She used a quote to highlight the fact that a guest will always remember how they made them feel. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”
President Les Clefs d’or International Virginia Castle and vice president Emmanuel Vrettos flew in from Paris especially for the event.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Fahad al-Thani is a supporter of the Qatar Conceirge Society founded by chief concierge Intercontinental Doha Randy Santos. Intercontinental’s general manager Andreas Pfister, the society’s executive committee members, Nizar Saidi, Ritz-Carlton’s Mohamed Rabie and Andrew Ferrer were among those who were present in the workshop.


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