Valley Access Magazine, July 2017

Beyond the Concierge Desk: AreaOwl’s Hotel Assistance

It takes a certain personality to be a hotel concierge and especially at a five star hotel.

Such is Tavis Lampman, the lead concierge at the Fairmont in San Jose, CA [http://www.fairmont.com/san-jose/]. Lampman has worked at the Fairmont for about 10 years, so it is fair to say he has seen a lot of the day-to-day in the hospitality industry. Lampman’s job is assisting guests with a variety of needs as well as setting just the right tone that makes his guests know they are valued and the Fairmont is there to help make their visit as wonderful as possible.

 
Tavis Lampman (right) and Brenten Romano,
concierge at the Fairmont San Jose

Assisting the concierge desk

The Fairmont is a beautiful and fairly traditional hotel in the heart of Silicon Valley. Most of the guests are business people attending meetings or conferences. 

For visitors’ requests, Lampman says besides looking for restaurants, visitors are looking for places to shop or where they may find a place to relax or find entertainment.

To help the Fairmont Hotel concierge desk answer these questions, the hotel is using AreaOwl, the online guest service tool that is on a tablet located at the concierge desk.

Visitors to San Jose have a variety of needs, from the most basic such as where to find the best burrito, where to get your nails done or buy that pair of socks they forgot to pack.

•  AreaOwl is at the ready to offer a myriad of restaurants in the neighborhood with full menus, hours of operation and location. Restaurants can also add a link to their online reservation page to capture the business on the spot.

•  AreaOwl is an engaging and convenient guest service tool for hotel staff to efficiently show (not just explain) local choices to guests, even with limited English. It will help enhance the quality of your guest service while also improving efficiency, hence reducing guest service cost. [https://www.areaowl.com/how-it-works-hotels]

•  AreaOwl is also portable on a smartphone so the information is available at the fingertips of the guests, in their room or on-the-go.

•  AreaOwl is a great way for local businesses to attract travelers visiting the area. Many of the Fairmont’s guests like to ask hotel staff for local suggestions. By listing your business on AreaOwl, it is naturally easier for hotel staff to suggest your business to their guests, especially when your business page has nice photos, menus, and other helpful information. [https://www.areaowl.com/how-it-works]

•  AreaOwl is a flexible, self-managed marketing platform for local businesses. Businesses can manage and update the content of your business page, or adjust when and where to list the page. Sign-up for a free account to start attracting more guests to your business today! [https://www.areaowl.com/user/signup]

AreaOwl’s goal is to facilitate collaboration among hotels and local businesses to make sure visitors to Silicon Valley have a wonderful experience during their stay so they keep coming back.

Just the right amount of technology

Lampman says the Fairmont had been looking for something to facilitate offering guests the name and location of restaurants, but couldn’t go beyond the basic information.  With AreaOwl, visitors not only get the name and location, they can see a menu, photos of the atmosphere and food, and hours of operation at their fingertips.  It was the perfect solution to add to his “mental List” as he calls it when guests come to the desk looking for a special place to dine.

“We don’t want our hotel to be overrun with technology,” Lampman said.

“I don’t want to see us using holograms showing guests to their room.”  He prides the establishment in offering personalized service with the convenience of the technology.  Lampman said that AreaOwl fits into that niche nicely.

Very often business visitors will bring their spouse while they are here for meetings or conferences and it is the spouse that will be looking for something to do during the day beyond a restaurant. AreaOwl helps in fulfilling that request with listings of shopping areas and local events such as local theater, parks or sports activities.

Fairmont's newly installed tablet is 18" big!

Guests love the newly installed large 18" tablet.

Not all requests are simple

Lampman tells the story of a visitor who wanted to see Yosemite while he was here. The gentleman did not have a car and didn’t want to rent one to drive there, so he asked Lampman if he could arrange transportation from the Fairmont to Yosemite. After several hours of research, he put together a trip that involved taking a train, a bus and a shuttle to the park. There were seven pages of detailed information to manage the process. The next morning when the guest arrived at the concierge desk to get the information, Lampman showed the plan to the guest with all the details involved. The guest took a look at the travel program, declared it was much too complicated and walked away.

While AreaOwl cannot prepare a seven-page detailed itinerary on how to get from San Jose to Yosemite (and back!) in a day using only public transportation, it does provide local public transportation information and schedules at your guests’ fingertips.

For more information, contact us at http://www.AreaOwl.com or call us at 866-912-5601.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of Valley Access Magazine.
Valley Access Magazine is a monthly e-magazine published by the Silicon Valley Concierge Association.