Entries are flooding in for our Concierge Mastermind of the Year 2019 competition and Hotelier Middle East speaks with one of the applicants Swapnil Patrikar from The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi.
What made you want to enter the competition? What are your expectations?
The Concierge Mastermind of the Year competition is a brand new competition in the region that will bring concierges together. It is also a great way to meet and connect with people in the industry and share best practices and ideas. It will give recognition to concierges like me who are passionate in what we’re doing.
What are your chances of winning the competition?
I have 14 years of experience in the hotel industry. I have worked with well-known brands such as Taj Hotel in India, One and Only Royal Mirage, Atlantis Hotel, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi and The Westin Mina Seyahi in Dubai. Having a total of 12 years of experience in the UAE, I am confident about the ins and outs of the city and more importantly, representing the brand that I am working for. Being nominated is already a victory for me as it gives me the chance to be recognised on what I am passionate about.
What do you think makes a good concierge?
A good concierge should have a strong network. He/she should know where and whom to connect the guests. With the advancement of technology, guests are wiser and have greater demands. A good concierge can be as helpful as the internet but he/she should be more precise and filtered on the information that he/she is giving. A good concierge should always anticipate the guests’ need and confident in providing the right information and solution to every situation. A good concierge should be street smart, resourceful and well-versed about the hotel, brand and the city.
What’s your favourite hidden gem in Dubai? What would you recommend for guests?
I believe that being a concierge is like being Dubai’s brand ambassador. Every piece of information you provide to guests is crucial and I always aim to give them a lasting impression about the city. I usually recommend Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in Bur Dubai to show that Dubai has a rich culture and tradition.
I believe that the UAE has an interesting history and I would like the guests to have a taste on what this country has to offer apart from the amazing skyscrapers and world-class establishments. I also would recommend Alserkal Art District in Al Quoz for guests who are into art – this will show the artistic side of Dubai to the guests and will also help our local artists to be recognised.
What is the one thing that you think people don’t know about concierges?
Concierges are more than just ‘the walking directory’ of the hotel industry. We are well-connected through the organisation, Les Clefs D’or. Compared to different departments, we don’t have a checklist of our daily routine. We have an in-depth knowledge about the hotel, the brand and the city. We always come up with solutions to every situation, from finding a babysitter to a personal shopper up to finding the best cheese selection in the area.
How do you think the competition will benefit Dubai’s concierge sector?
Since this is the first competition about concierges, this will greatly recognise the importance of every concierge in the city. It will bring us closer to each other, develop friendship, widen our network, share tips and best practices in the industry and further showcase what we have to offer.