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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.