Interview with Roger Bastoni – Chief Concierge at the Hotel Barrière Le Majestic Cannes
and Honorary President of the Clefs d'Or
I dropped into Cannes last summer – when the hotel season was in full swing – and had the privilege of meeting with Chief Concierge Roger Bastoni, who has been zealously exercising his art since 1972. The concierge is one of the first people we see when we enter a luxury hotel. A key player, his role is indispensable – he must be capable of immediately taking care of all the material and immaterial details relating to his Clients’ stays while ensuring an outstanding level of service and advice.
What do your Clients expect of you?
My duties can vary immensely – I never know what the next question will be… My Clients are away from home, so they appreciate having everything they might want or need close at hand when they need it. My role is to make life easier for them and produce solutions for everything. Unfortunately it can sometimes happen that the answer is NO but a NO without a solution is out of the question.
“Our profession has changed considerably with the arrival of new technologies and research tools have increased tenfold. But unlike a concierge, the computer does not possess natural empathy.”
Our Clients confide in us and occasionally share some private matters with us. The bond we have with them is therefore unique, naturally based on complicity and confidence.
What qualities are required to exercise your profession?
My role is to respond positively, precisely and efficiently to each and every request while never forgetting to offer that little touch of extra service. In addition to mastering our profession to perfection, it is the human and emotional dimensions that make the difference. A quick mind allows us to give speedy, well-thought and appropriate advice to our Clients in order to find an effective solution to any type of problem. We should also be able to anticipate situations and act on initiative because our Clients like it when we anticipate their wishes. Finally, discretion and diplomacy are, in my opinion, “must-haves”.
“You need to genuinely like people if you want to listen and take interest in their tastes and habits.
When I help a Client choose a restaurant, I am fulfilling his need. When I inform the restaurant of his wife’s food preferences, I am helping create Client delight. Delivering a daily newspaper to a Client upon his request goes without saying, and placing it on his breakfast tray is a sign of my attentiveness to his needs.
I consider delivering Client delight to be the cornerstone and essential for building loyalty to our establishment.