What goes on behind the concierge’s desk at the Grand Hotel Majestic “già Baglioni” in Bologna? In this article we tell you the anecdotes, the stories and the “tricks of the trade” indispensable for ensuring a warm welcome to guests at the city’s five-star hotel.
How would you describe a typical day in the life of the conciergerie?
At the start of the day, we read the list of tasks we have to do, we check the diary of the services that have been booked in the previous days, we carefully recheck that all bookings are active – there’s actually an entire control network for this type of operation, but you can’t be too prudent – and we see that all the services have been assigned. It takes a thousand eyes to ensure impeccability. After that, the practical work begins. We monitor the arrivals and make sure that clients receive what they asked for, from the bottle of champagne in their room to restaurant reservations.
What are the values you wish to convey to your guests and how do you look after them?
Without doubt, friendliness and precision, attention to detail. Clients’ expectations are high and it’s the conciergierie’s role to be at their service. They have to be welcomed with warmth and treated with kindness right from their first contact with the hotel. Sometimes, to cite Pirandello, we have to wear masks. But being professional at every moment of the day means precisely that.
How do you meet “impossible” or at least very special requests kindly and creatively?
The conciergerie’s work involves being on the same wavelength as guests with a lot of empathy and a touch of psychology. I remember one episode in particular. For three days on the trot, an American lady needed us to organise as many urgent shipments to the USA with delivery within 24 hours. That we eventually managed to meet this somewhat unusual request was a source of great satisfaction for the whole hotel.
In a hotel with an international clientele like the Due Torri, you come into contact with people from all over the world. How do you attune yourselves to different cultures?
Yes, at our hotel we really do receive guests from all over the world. Language skills are important but what is essential is kindness, a value that’s appreciated in any culture. Then you have to know the fundamentals, how to behave and how not to behave when you enter into contact with people from faraway countries with different habits. It’s important never to lose your smile, which is a truly international form of communication, a universal visiting card.
What do guests appreciate most about the Grand Hotel Majestic "già Baglioni"?
We’re lucky enough to be working in a location so historical you feel a sense of wonderment whenever you enter: every corner of the hotel, every room and hall, ceiling and furnishing expresses this uniqueness, every detail is a joy to behold. Plus, we’re a five-star luxury hotel, so the quality of our services has to live up to the billing. That said, in such a pleasant context, it’s the staff that makes the difference. You may be staying in the most beautiful hotel in the world but it’s the care and attention and kindness that leaves an enjoyable, heady memory. The reviews and the feedback we receive confirm this sensation of mine.
What are the most frequent requests you receive from guests? And which tours and experiences do you most recommend?
In the last few years, our habits have changed and today many people organise their holidays online. So we don’t have to book theatre tickets, for example, as often as we used to, but we’re always very busy planning tours, especially food and wine tours, which are the most popular of all. We’re in the heart of Italy’s Food Valley and people want to find out how Grana Padano, Prosciutto di Parma and balsamic vinegar are made, to discover the secrets of the supply chain and, of course, to enjoy a few tastings. They also ask for the names of places off the beaten track where they can taste the authentic local cooking Bologna is so famous for worldwide.