Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Romei

Michael Romei

Chef Concierge, The Waldorf Towers

Michael Romei has been dubbed "The Ambassador of Hospitality" and he practices his brand of statecraft on both a local and global level. Mr. Romei is the Chef Concierge of the Waldorf Towers/Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Presidents, heads of state, celebrities, and tourists from around the world seek out Mr. Romei with requests that run the gamut from getting hot tickets to a sold-out show to staging an elaborate marriage proposal. You'll find Mr. Romei in his hotel lobby speaking Italian on the phone, chatting with guests in Spanish and making dinner reservations in French. Need to charter a jet in an hour to take you to Paris? Done! Or how about that golf cart you need assembled in your suite on Christmas Eve complete with a big, red bow? With pleasure! Or perhaps you're leaving for Hong Kong later in the week for an unexpected business meeting. Mr. Romei will seamlessly provide a hotel, an itinerary, and walking directions to his favorite restaurant, which will also become yours because he's already anticipated your needs. He'll tell you to say hello to the Maitre' d for him whether in Hong Kong or Mumbai or Rome. Mr. Romei is the insider's insider, knowing where to go and what to do in the far flung corners of the world. Mr. Romei's frequent Waldorf guests will often boast that their favorite concierge in New York set up a complete European vacation for them. In today's competitive luxury hotel market, that is indeed an edge. Mr. Romei is the General Secretary of the prestigious international organization Les Clefs D'Or, signified by the golden keys that he wears on his lapels. Les Clefs D'Or boasts nearly 4000 members working in 60 countries all of whom have undergone rigorous training in the concierge profession, a lot of that training done by Mr. Romei himself. He logs tens of thousands of miles each year conducting training sessions and seminars all around the world. Mr. Romei teaches the art of hospitality to all levels of hotel staff; from General Managers, to bellhops, to housekeepers, and of course, the concierges. This year alone, Mr. Romei has traveled all over India, the Maldives, The Caribbean, Queenstown, New Zealand, Bangkok, and locally in NYC and USA conducting training sessions. He also spreads the word of just how invaluable concierges are to their hotels. Perhaps the GM of the Movenpick Hotel in Bangalore, India said it best, after one of Romei's training sessions: "The concierge is the face of the hotel. He is the one who interacts with the guests on a daily basis. So it is vitally important to have an excellent and well-trained concierge team." Mr. Romei has a BA from Manhattanville College, a Master's degree in International Studies from NYU, is a faculty member of NYU's Continuing Education Hospitality Program, and lectures and teaches all over the world.

Mr. Romei can be contacted at 212-872-4718 or michael.romei@waldorfastoria.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.