Speaking with Concierges Around the World: Say Yes To Travel
Over the next few weeks on Say Yes To Travel, I will be interviewing a series of concierge from around the world. The goal is to shed some light on what travel recovery is looking like from an operations standpoint and from those individuals on the ground.
Don Mooney is the Head Concierge at the Fairmont Banff. More than that he is the President of Les CLefs d’Or Canada. For those who are unfamiliar, Les Clefs d’Or is the elite organization of hotel concierge. You know them when you stay at a hotel and they have golden keys on their lapels. I too am part of this organization.
Don’s hotel is truly a castle. I had the chance to go last year and it was incredible. They have been closed for the last few months and have only just reopened at the beginning of June. Imagine, normally a team of 30 concierge, Don is the ONLY concierge working now.
Of course, with doors opening they are starting to see leisure travelers come back. In this interview we talk about what the experience has been like during the off time and what it is like moving forward.
A true leader, Don mentioned that this “off” time was a great time to stay connected and stay supported. The concierge community is so passionate and proactive, that it has been so exciting to see a group of individuals stay so committed to their profession, especially when there is so much uncertainty around returning.
We touch on mental health as well, as these certainly are trying times. All too often in the hotel industry we gloss over mental health, but the issue is a big one–and one that Don has taken a point to always address. From guests to service workers, mental health is real and shouldn’t be overlooked. Especially now, many are struggling being home, some are devastated by not having work, and others are challenged with being alone. All are valid.
As for the experience in hotels now, Don shared what the new experience is like at the Fairmont Banff. From a near touchless check-in to no a valet, certain parts of the hotel are closed off and the restaurants are limited. Most guests seem to understand. A true spa destination, they are awaiting when they are able to offer those services again.
Of course, all of this is temporary, but it is interesting to hear from the ones on the ground. Hopefully once boarders between the US and Canada open again, you all can experience the incredible destination of the Fairmont Banff. And if you do, definitely say hi to Don Mooney.