Study Shows Concierges Being Phased Out By Online Information Sites

Position lacks context and internet can not replace quality advice, says one concierge

Many may know little about what a concierges actually does, outside of misguided concepts gathered from movies or TV series like Hotel Babylon. The man is usually the one who can get you anything, much like a Morgan Freeman character from Shawshank redemption, but without the surrounding prison.

What what does the concierges actually do? Pretty much everything that is not what you see on TV and movies, according to Jorge Sousa. What they handle is “anything as long as it’s legal and moral” according to Sousa.

Sousa stated he can happily hand over a tasteful “after dark” offerings newspaper, and explain the drug laws of his native country of Australia, but from there the travelers and guests are on their own.

Andrea Natoli of Sofitel Melbourne on Collins says he always finds it amusing that the position is displayed as a sort of ‘smooth operator’ that seems to have to hand “deals happening here there and everywhere”, when what reality provides them with is a strong sense of morality and professionalism.

What is asked of concierges most of the time is restaurant and sightseeing tips, of course. That is what most travelers are looking for the most. There are also requests like acting as witness to a private wedding. “What we won’t do is practical jokes or bucks’ night pranks,” he says. “They often come to us but we won’t be part of that.”

A study handled by Allianz Global, a travel insurance company found that many travelers are now looking to Twitter for concierge advice these days. That means there is a tightening of the role the concierge can play overall.

Research of over 25,000 travel-related tweets noted that travelers are seeking information on activities through online sources. But Natoli says that travelers who seek such advice online are going to have a more hit-and-miss attempt of finding the best spots. “What’s the ‘best’ [for someone] depends on the individual and what they will enjoy,” he says.


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