ITB 2024 Special Reporting
My Quest for Good and Genuine Butler-Service.
Hugo R. Mechelse, International Butlers
Sunday, 9th October 2011
As a part-time butler/PA, and international Butler trainer, everywhere I travel, I'm always on the lookout for good butler-service.

Who can tell me where to find it? As the environment is always so great, I also want the guests to be able to enjoy this to the full. A perfect personalised service with eye for detail, should complement a perfect luxurious environment.

Hotels certainly have challenges here, taking into account the high pressure staff is faced with very often on a daily basis: not enough hands, too many guests. And be honest: once you do a good job, people appreciate you, trust you and start asking more of you. You will be overloaded on the spot due to your own success.

Butlers even have yet another challenge. In order to be able to provide a personalised service in the first place they have to connect with guests who are in a hurry, possibly not interested in our services,. However luckily not all guests turn out to be as closed as they sometimes seem. Yes, from a cultural background some are more distant then others, but still, luckily, without communication nobody can survive.

In this context managers can show their staff how communication works, how connecting to the guest works. How you can connect and build trust with even the most difficult guest. How? Start with showing your genuine interest in the guest.

For example by talking about names and by asking for a name, in stead of a room number. It's not room 523 that has a problem by Mr Xyz. I have mentioned this before. Guests are not specified by numbers. They have names and would appreciate when once in a while we show that we really care and are interested in them by dropping their names. And if you do not know or remember the name: ask for it. Ask the guest how to spell it, how to pronounce it and possibly even how to address him. Get into a conversation and he will not forget us and we will not forget him. Most often travelling is a lonely business, so travellers love to talk and share their information with us.

Forget the time-investment: there is payback time when he tells his friends about us and our hotel. This is where real butler-service starts; with the genuine interest in the guest and his whereabouts. With a genuine passion to make a difference with the guest. For example by assisting with packing and unpacking.

It is not rocket science what butlers do. It just needs the right mindset! Butlers and managers by excellence should have the right mindset. The right mindset is also that we just don't talk about it, but that we ‘live' our mindset. Show it, show me. If you do, you will notice that life is fun, people are fun. You will notice that it does not take much to make a difference in the life of other people.

All the rest we have to give the guest, just comes down to our skills. Thorough training and practice, and practice of skills, one will get the real feeling and the required subtleties to make a difference with our beloved guests!

Hugo R Mechelse is managing director of International Butlers. IB offers training and consultancy services. Training covers personalised service courses for high-end hospitality staff, private households, cruise ships, and private yachts. Consultancy, among others,  covers mystery visits and establishing signature Butler Service Departments.

All training and consultancy is taken with the luxury feeling in the guest experience as final objective. www.internationalbutlers.com

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