For most people a concierge is a fancy looking person, behind a fancy looking desk, inside a fancy looking hotel that we don’t dare approach for fear of A) Not knowing if the service is free B) Because we’re not worthy. As in, a concierge is there to serve the rich, famous and the fools who want to look rich and famous.
But what exactly does a concierge do? Are these the people who can get tickets for everything? Get a table in the hottest bar in town on a moment’s notice? Are these the people we read about in rock star biographies, who supply them with five-star drugs and prostitutes while in their five-star hotel? Well, yes. Yes they are.
It should be noted that it’s not a dirty business – far from it actually. It’s service, and when done right it’s the highest level of service anyone could ever get – from securing a limo built to carry a wealthy CEO in a wheelchair, to getting a loved one home for the holidays in the middle of a snow storm.
In the world of service there is one single top dog – a champion – and that’s New York-based Michael Fazio. Michael has made service an art. It’s a dance between a challenge, money and the impossible. And Michael makes it look easy – for a price. If you’re demanding the best, you should have no problem paying for it.
When Michael was in town we hooked up at the insanely exclusive American Express UNSTAGED Dinner & Usher Concert Screening.
Michael started in the industry in LA as an assistant for Charlie Sheen, Jeremy Piven and Wesley Snipes, and then moved into the hotel concierge business. He got really good at it (providing service to really bitchy people and going beyond his call of duty). If he knew his boss liked oatmeal in the morning before working out and used hot rollers, when they got back to work he would have the breakfast ready and the rollers plugged in whether they wanted it or not. It was just always ready. He didn’t wait to be asked. For him, nothing is out of the realm of possibility – from tracking down the perfect $300,000 yacht in France for one client, to filling a hotel bathtub with chocolate fudge for another.
What makes Michael special in this world is his ability to open it up to everyone. Everyone deserves great service, even without a guy like him. Michael’s books are full of great tips, but to get what you want really comes down to one simple philosophy… be nice! That’s it. The person who acts like a hot-shot will either be called out, overcharged or be disappointed. Being nice opens doors and gets you upgrades. Make a human connection and ask people’s names ahead of time – then ask for them when you arrive at the restaurant or hotel, just to say “hi”; and “thank you.”; A concierge is someone who makes a living remembering the details. If they can make a rock star feel like a regular person, they can surely make a regular person feel like a rock star!