Nowadays, concierge services seem to be popping up everywhere – from car rental companies to hospitals to banks – all promising value added service.
Within the hospitality industry, there is a growing trend to outsource this service. One luxury resort, Four Seasons Resort Maui, has bucked this industry trend by continuing to place major emphasis on its in-house concierge services.
Recently arrived General Manager Jean Claude Wietzel believes the concierge program is at the heart of a luxury resort operation. “For the well-traveled guest, our concierge service is priceless and indispensable. Our staff are truly experts who go the extra mile. Most are either long-time Maui residents or are originally from Maui.”
Spend a day with Sam Wilhelm, chef concierge, and his staff of 22 highly-trained professionals at Four Seasons Resort Maui to get a firsthand look at the service that is provided at this five-star luxury resort every day. “It is all about creating personalized and customized itineraries for guests and providing a level of service that far exceeds expectations,” says Wilhelm, a Hana, Maui-born hospitality expert who grew up learning the fine points of service from his parents, both longtime Maui hotel employees.
Wilhelm holds the coveted Gold Key from Les Clefs d’Or, the internationally recognized symbol of superior hospitality and quality service. Three others on his team have also earned this prestigious status. Together, the four represent the only Gold Key holders on the island of Maui. Wilhelm manages and directs the largest concierge department in the company which consists of 91 hotels and resorts in 38 countries.
“Taking care of our resort guests is critical, says Wilhelm, who after a quick second, adds “showing guests the real Maui, the one in which I grew up, is equally important because guests can take home lifetime memories of their experiences and the Aloha spirit.”
In addition to knowing the island inside-out, Wilhelm’s team can secure those hard-to-get reservations and best tables at restaurants based on the relationships they’ve developed. “We spend a great deal of time getting to know and learning about the services our preferred vendors offer. And we constantly evaluate the feedback from our guests,” he says.
Wietzel and Wilhelm stress the fact that the concierge team only works with the best activity partners on the island, those who are uniquely qualified to provide a high service experience. “We look at it this way,” says Wietzel: “When we send off our guests to experience an activity or tour, we expect our partners and their respective teams to become an extension of Four Seasons. Our bar is set extremely high and we expect the same from them. We have a lengthy list of requirements our partners need to meet.”
Wilhelm adds “We also have each concierge team member participate in at least eight activities per year, and then report back to the entire team, to ensure the experiences are up to our standards. We’re not here to sell our guests excursions. We are here to deliver the best vacation experience possible.”
Guests can contact any of the 22 concierges prior to arrival or on the spot. Their photographs and short bios are on the resort’s website. Just a look through this section and it becomes clear these professionals can save guests research time by personalizing itineraries, selecting the best and most appropriate activity partners, and using their clout to pull off seemingly impossible requests.
Visit website: Four Seasons Resort Maui
From Luxury Travel Magazine