Concierges Around the World: The First Female Les Clefs d’Or Concierge
Holly Stiel is a Concierge legend in both the United States as well as Internationally. A speaker, author, hospitality consultant, and service educator, Holly truly embodies the spirit of service. even the name of her company says it all–Thank You Very Much Inc. As she has always said, she is in the Thank You business.
Being the first female Les Clefs d’Or Concierge, and mind you, not that long ago, Holly so graciously explain: “It wasn’t about being the first female. For me, it was about being passionate about my career. The fact that I was the first female was just a bi-product of being at the right place at the right time.”
A true leader, Holly shared some interest insight on how the travel industry has changed over the years. Using the concierge as an example, it was about connection and access in the past. Now, as there is an abundance of information, it has now become curating special access. The change has been from information to experiences and curating information and special, unique, bragging rights things Ease, Access and Recognition.
“I think the essence has changed to Safety with Trust from Fun and Leisure.” With the pandemic, the new currency of luxury travel is “safety” and trust.
During this time where we have been given a chance to “pause,” Holly advised to really tap into our emotional intelligence and being conscious of everyone’s circumstances. “We are all in the same storm, but we aren’t all in the same boat.”
She also suggests taking advantage of this time and making a point to be present. This is a time to surrender as we have never experienced anything like this before.
As the industry moves forward, Holly explained that hotels really need to think about how to provide “thoughtful” experiences. More than just paying attention to our guests, hotels should focus on their employees as well.
The key to not being replaced is by doing things that a robot can’t do. A great concierge is all about relationships and human connections.
Although there is no definitive answer to what the future holds, she believes that younger people will lead the way and roadtrips will be all interesting.
“Again, we are guessing but first is the reluctant business traveller and then the super wealthy who can fly private. I think travel will change significantly and be like what it was in the 50’s a treat and for the rich.”
Advice or thoughts on the travel recovery process:
“I have hopes about having a reciprocal relationship with Service Providers and Customers now that we have seen their value. It also depends on the demographic. People over 65 are pretty much staying put and playing it safe. Younger people will be happier to risk. It is about the belief system. There are people who think it is a hoax and many are not interested in complying.”
Even though there is no definitive route to recovery, Holly knows that travel will make a comeback. The whole point is to just surrender to the process.