Butler Service During the Recession is to Stay.
Hugo R. Mechelse
Friday, 17th April 2009
Hardships all over the world, competition tough: will the guest still be able to enjoy the ‘luxury' of butler service? I sure hope so!

From my point of view, especially now it is a vital added value in luxury hotels. Where life is more challenging all over, it is up to the butlers to balance this with personal attention and a comfortable personalised environment. That is the passion of a good butler and that is where luxury hotels can make that difference to the guest.

But many times I hear the remark "but guests do not ask for it". This tells me two things: the butlers of these hotels are not up to their job and the hotels themselves have no clear view on what they want to do with butler service, except possibly ‘window dressing'. A good butler does not wait till the guests ask him to do something. He anticipates needs, offers services and acts. A luxury hotel with a vision on butler service facilitates and is proactive towards the guests.

Many hotels seem not to be aware of the full potential of butler service. Sometimes and especially in this tough time of competition, butler service is a key area where you can create an added value to the guests. Does it need investment? Well yes, but this is an investment in people, in your staff, the most important asset in your company. Its needs training and coaching of the butlers to fully prepare them for the job. After a training, a batch stating your position as ‘butler' does not make you a butler. Much more is required and it is up to the hotel to facilitate this. It takes time and coaching as it is mainly the mindset that makes a good butler.

But it might also needs a bit of marketing, to explain the guest what services your hotels offers and more specifically how the butlers can contribute to the enjoyment of his stay.

There is nothing wrong with explaining this in a brochure or a short ‘instruction'. Not everybody is familiar with the advantages of a personal butler. Unfortunately many hotels take it for granted that when you put it on your website ‘butler service', guests know instantly what they get.

In addition to this, behind this qualification ‘butler service' there is a whole world of guest focus, anticipation and genuine interest all through the organization. In my training very often not only butlers participate but also front office, housekeeping and F&B. Just because their position requires many of the same traits, butlers should have.

Summary what you should do to have full advantage of your butlers:

  • Set clear objectives for your butler-service, supported by the organisation as a whole
  • Get professional personalised (butler) service training and long term support
  • Provide on-going coaching and support to the butlers
  • ‘Market' the butler-service to the guests
When everything fits, your hotel is able to offer the Butler Service just as it is mend to be experienced by the guest: to create that comfortable environment for the guest to enable him to focus on the more important issues around him, especially now!.

Hugo R. Mechelse, managing director of International Butlers, is butler service instructor and coach as well as part time PA/Butler. He supports 5-star hotels and resorts as well as private yachts and estates all over the world. His passion is to create that comfortable environment whatever it takes. e-mail hugo@internationalbutlers.com
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