Nancy Lopez of Dreams Sands Cancun proudly wears two golden keys on her uniform’s lapel. They identify her as one of only approximately 4,500 concierge worldwide who belong to a select group of elite hospitality providers: the Clef d’Or or Golden Keys Concierge. Recently, she shared her story with Amstar dmc, a leading provider of inspiring travel services in Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.
Not everyone is willing to go that extra mile. Be it for themselves or their clients, the many stumbling blocks in life, self-imposed or otherwise, prevent us from doing so. Not Nancy Lopez. The 31 year-old hospitality sensei belongs to a select group of people whose purpose is to ensure total client satisfaction. There are only 4,500 others like her. Worldwide.
More Than Just a Concierge
Think about it. According to SRT Global, an estimated 17.5 guest rooms exist at over 187,000 hotels throughout the world. That represents a big need for customer service, because travelers want to be pampered, but they also want to be informed. They want to know where to go and what to see, who or what’s in town, and where the locals eat.
Who takes care of them all?
Anyone who’s traveled knows the importance of finding that special someone who gives you a sense of confidence in an unknown place; the person whose tips and suggestions radically transform a mediocre or even negative experience into a positive one.
While there are many talented and friendly people who work in the hospitality industry the world over, always with a smile and always willing to help, especially those who work as a concierge, there are actually even fewer and further between are the dedicated people who actually go that extra step to join an international association; who spend years training, learning and practicing to become a Clef d’ Or or Golden Key Concierge.
In fact, there are only 4,500 worldwide and just 25 in the Mexican Caribbean, which comprises Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
Service Through Friendship
The International Union of Hotel Concierge Clef d’Or has a slogan: Service through Friendship. And it’s that slogan that not only motivates Nancy to excel in her position, it’s also what got her involved in the first place.
“I first got interested through a friend, who invited me to one of the meetings, and that’s how my interest developed,” explains Nancy.
“I met other concierge from Cancun and the Riviera Maya and started learning how they do it in other hotels, because even if we all share the same position, everyone has their own way of working.”
“It creates long-lasting friendships, too, because we are all there because of our desire to provide outstanding customer service.”
A Commitment to Excellence
Becoming a Golden Keys Concierge requires time and commitment, but it also requires a dedication to what you do. It’s a personal quest to devote your professional life to helping others, and always being informed and up-to-date about culture, history, wine and gastronomy, as well as the in’s and out’s on the place where they work.
A Golden Key Concierge has to fulfill many requirements before being honored with the title. For instance:
- Five years experience in the hotel industry as a concierge
- Participate in a regional group of the International Union of Hotel Concierge Clef d’ Or for a minimum of three years as well as one national and one international congress
- Possess expertise in a wide array of themes ranging from general culture and universal history to wines and the statutes of the association
- Pass a thorough exam
- Carry out a community-based project
Making the Difference
“Being a Golden Keys Concierge means that you are in constant training,” says Nancy.
As members of the association, Nancy and her colleagues spend a lot of off-work hours participating in diverse courses and presentations intended to help them have the knowledge they need to better serve their clients.
“There are a lot of training sessions on art, culture, history or even events that are prepared just for us, because as a concierge you should know a little of everything.”
“So, for instance, if a guest comes and wants to know about a restaurant, you need to have the best answer for that particular client. You also have to know about tours, food, events in your town, and even about what is going on in other nearby cities.”
“You probably won’t get all this information from your hotel, but being a part of the association helps you to widen you knowledge because you receive information from all over,” she stated.
“And as a Clef d’Or Concierge, you can basically open doors for your guests all over the world.”
Satisfying Customer Service
For people whose passion it is to serve, excellent customer service is not only a satisfying result for the client. In fact, perhaps it’s even more so for people like Nancy.
“It’s incredibly gratifying to work with guests, to relate to them as human beings. We know that everybody thinks differently, that we all have our particular needs and specific wants,” explains Nancy.
It’s the Nancies of the world that calm us down and make us feel at home, particularly when we are miles or even cultures away.
“When a client is unhappy, it’s our job to do everything within our means to turn it around, to make them happy. The truth is, we all have a lot of areas of opportunity, ways to grow and improve, but when the day is over or the guest’s stay comes to an end and they are then happy, well there’s really nothing more satisfying.”
Dreams Sands Cancun
Prior to working at Dreams Sands Cancun, Nancy acted as a concierge at another hotel of the AMResorts line: Secrets Maroma. She came over to Dreams Sands when it first opened back in October. Of course, a new hotel means new challenges, and part of Nancy’s job has been to deal with the issues that arise from starting afresh in the installations of a former hotel.
“This hotel began to operate just five months ago, and like any new place you have your bumps in the road. By working together, however, you can make it a success. Because you don’t construct a road all at once, but little by little, piece by piece, putting everything together to create what you want. And that’s what we’ve experienced,” explains Nancy.
“It’s very gratifying, because you have many areas of opportunity, but when people are focused on their goals and fulfilling their objectives, then the end result is happy guests. And that pretty much sums up our mission and vision: having guests who are beyond satisfying and even exceeding their expectations.”
So the next time you visit Dreams Sands Cancun, stop by and say hello to Nancy. It’ll be her pleasure to serve you.
Amstar dmc has a hospitality desk in all AMResort properties. Like Nancy, we are there to ensure that you have an inspiring travel experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. And remember, we’re online and in destination 365 days a year!