‘I always customize the service to individuality suit our guests while still maintaining the InterContinental service culture and standards’ – Khun Nissara
By Earth Saiswang.
Many of us think of a concierge as just somebody who stands right by most of the time, waiting to do something for hotel guests. In fact, it can be fun and interesting too, as most concierges will tell you. “Everyday is a full of surprises, and these surprises makes our job exciting in return,” says Nissara Saithong, who’s been concierge officer at the InterContinental Bangkok for one year now.
What kind of surprises? Well at one time, Nissara says she ended up searching for 30 kilos of deep-fried grasshopper for a guest. At another time, one guest approached her and told her that he wanted to help her because she has a child spirit (Gumarn-Thong) following her all the time. There are so many stories to tell, Nissara says, and the more you stay in your job, the more stories file up – enough to last a lifetime.
While the daily duty can be fairly routine – keeping herself up to date by reading current events and knowing what’s happening in town – they actually provide lots of service that might be labeled as over and above the call of duty already. Nissara’s explanation: “We have to customize our service that suit individual guests while maintaining the hotel’s standard of service and culture.”
No wonder, you’ll see concierges – even the most educated of them – staying in their jobs for years; many do not even want to change jobs; Nissara for one. The Suphanburi-born Nissara is an art history major from Silpakorn University. In a previous life, she dreamed of being a curator.
She used to be an assistant to artist Chalit Nakpawan, but after trying out a job as concierge officer at St. Regis Bangkok, she was hooked. Today, she says she has not regretted her decision. “Our job is to make sure that guests enjoy the utmost experience from our hotel even before the check-n and even after they have checked out,” she says.
The challenge is how to make an ordinary answer appear extraordinary. More importantly, difficult guests who always come with unusual requests and eventually get a feedback with genuine smile.
Nissara shares with us some tips she gives their guests at InterContinental Bangkok:
- Best Thai restaurants — During the hot season, I love to recommend Kao Chae (dry-cooked rice in cold water, eaten with condiments) from one of the most unseen restaurant where located in heart of downtown area. But also, Baan Wannakovit, which is a colonial style house that opens for limited customers each day.
- For chill-out and party fun — Q&A Bar, located in the Asoke area
- For shopping — Lung Perm Market (behind Thai Airways head office) & Soi Lalaisup (behind Bangkok head office. / Gaysorn Plaza
- Best way to enjoy their holiday — Just follow the “Perfect Day” which InterContinental Bangkok has tailor-made for first time visitor to discover a must see place in Bangkok within a day.
Of course there are more, but whatever a guest’s request might be, Nissara always carries with her, “positive thinking” and open-mindedness when she comes work. “Everything is possible or nearly possible for my guest,” she says.