You don’t sound very Dutch. Where are you from originally?
I’m from Worcester in England. But I’ve lived in this country for about forty years already. I used to work on cruise ships, but I was looking for a different kind of job. That’s how I finally ended up working in the flower business in the Netherlands and later in the hotel industry.
So, where did it all started for you at the Dylan?
Oh, then we should go back 20 years in time. I was part of the opening team of what was then called ‘The Blakes’. It was the first boutique hotel in The Netherlands and a franchisee of The Blakes in London, the first-ever luxury boutique hotel in the world. When I started as a concierge, our way of working was quite different. The gates at the front of the hotel were always closed for example. It was our job to receive our guests and open the gate for them.
And what does your current job entail exactly?
Well, we guide and assists guests with nearly anything they need. That includes car rentals, restaurants or luggage. We also add value to the typical Dylan experience while we serve our guest at the front door. Anyway, whether they are arriving or leaving, the Dylan should always feel like a family house.
And why are you good at this job?
I suppose I like dealing with people, it’s in my nature to assist them.
Could it also be a sense of politeness that’s typical for the English?
Oh, that could be true, that never fades away. To be honest, I’m just being me and I have no intention to be an actor of some kind. I just love this job because I have a lot of contact with our guests. And I’m not fixed behind a desk, that’s a bonus too. I’m constantly moving around, which makes the job quite dynamic.
What is your secret to making people happy?
I always try to go the extra mile. If a guest asks a difficult question or when a request is rather challenging, I always endeavour to find a solution. That effort is usually very valued by our guests.
So, what does your day look like normally?
We work in morning and evening shifts, but both are quite similar if it comes to the work we do. I always start coordinating with the reception and check whether there are requests left from the shift before and if all taxis are arranged. Then I continue to work on emails, help our guests with luggage and their request. We do quite a few things at the same time, but that makes the job so dynamic.
Do any of the online tools change your work as a concierge?
Yes, a little bit. In the first place, we used to acquire our knowledge through books and personal experiences. These days, the internet is one of our most important sources. Secondly, there is always a large group of guests who first check a website such as Tripadvisor before they come down to hear our opinion. But we can then help them make the best choice, based on the work they have already done online.
And how do you know which advice to give?
You have to read the guest in front of you. For example, if an older couple decides to visit a very trendy restaurant, which I think may not fit them exactly, I try to explain what kind of venue it is. Of course, in the end, our guests make the decision but from my experience, I can help them well on their way.
And how do you keep yourself informed about everything that happens in the city?
Mainly through the internet, publications in magazines and the contact we have with restaurants. We also try different restaurants ourselves as regularly as possible. It’s a good way to discover new concepts and to meet up with our team.
Which place in Amsterdam would you recommend visiting?
The Jordaan is definitely the most beautiful neighbourhood. It has the atmosphere of a village, which is so typical for the whole city. It is also an area that you could perfectly discover by bike.