In the Life of a Young Hotel Concierge: A mistake that could have been avoided or the power of information.


A busy Saturday afternoon in Montreal. The hotel is fully booked and guest requests and questions are flying in from all directions. A lady and her daughter inquire about a biking tour. They tell me they’ve “been all around Old Montreal” and want to see something different. I tell them about the Mile-End, this trendy Williamsburg-like neighbourhood (for the New-Yorkers out there) filled with history, good food and all sorts of hidden gems. The ladies are pseudo DIYs and ask that I provide them with the list of tours offered by this Plateau-Mile-End company, Fitz and Follwell Co. They return later with a choice. A food tour of “The Main”. For those who aren’t familiar with Montreal, “The Main” is what Saint-Laurent Boulevard is referred to, since it is historically the center of the city, dividing most streets between east and west. With such a clear choice, and a memory of this tour being on bikes, I fulfill their request and book the tour. Requests and questions keep flying in. I don’t look into the details of the tour any further. This is where things go sour.

I receive a phone call from Fitz and Follwell around half an hour before the start time of the tour; “The ladies were under the impression this was a biking tour, it is in fact a walking tour”. My clients will not accept a walking tour, as they had specifically requested a bike tour. This is when I see, too late, that their website indicates “Flavours of the Main” as a WALKING tour. I quickly discover that a split second consultation of a website can determine the outcome of an entire day. The company is not responsible for this misunderstanding and will not reimburse the client, understandably so. The clients will not do the tour, as it is not what they had asked for. After many twists and jumps, I was able to get them into a bike tour the next morning at no extra cost, and even adjust the length of it to match their preferences by having a second guide join the group! All was well in the end, but I couldn’t help but think; What if I had had a database, connected with Fitz and Follwell Co. that would have sent me a notification of this change? It could have notified me at the time that this change occurred, allowing me to avoid this slight disregard and ultimately avoid its heavy consequences.

I confess. I made a mistake. Even the best concierges of the industry make mistakes (it seems!). And I realize this mistake could have easily been avoided by having smarter technology at my fingertips. Technology that is now available and ready to use! Ask-PAM, the company that developed the CRM software my team and I currently use, is developing a search engine that can accomplish just that. By building a database of curated information, provided by concierges for concierges, we can now have access to the best of the best! The company is working on including suppliers in the community as well so they, as businesses, can publish updates and notifications of service and product changes. Think about it. This means Fitz & Follwell can now publish their changes in service offerings. That way, no other concierge will repeat the mistake I made. The industry as a whole made better through innovative technology.