Florian Weidenbach

Concierge-Interview with Florian Weidenbach

Monday, 15. August 2016 | Benedikt Lüchinger

The work life of concierges is a world of its own. They commit themselves daily to provide an ideal holiday experience for the hotel guests. In a series of articles, the ES Magazine interviews concierges of luxury hotels to have a look behind the scenes of this exciting occupation.

Concierge-Interview with Florian Weidenbach

Mister Florian Weidenbach is concierge and vice president of Les Clefs d’Or Germany. This illustrates his dedication to extraordinary service for the guests of the Bayerischer Hof in Munich where he has been fulfilling wishes for over ten years now.

We had the opportunity to meet mister Weidenbach. For this interview, we asked some questions about his person and his occupation as a concierge.

Which hotel do you work for and how long have you been working there as a concierge?

I work as a concierge at the Bayerischer Hof in Munich since 2005, with a break of one year.
As of 2009, I am the representative team leader of the whole concierge staff.

Blue Spa Pool

Are you living your profession under a certain slogan?

My Mentor Hand Muderlak gave me two sentences to take along with me that still accompany to this day and that have influenced me greatly: “Never check the time while working!” and: “Always keep your eyes and ears open and never stop learning, because knowledge is your capital.”

Can you look back on a long career as concierge? How did you get to work as a hotel concierge and vice president of Les Clefs d’Or?

I started my hotel management education in 2001 in a small hotel at the Munich main station. My best friend’s father was director there, master of the old school; he taught me how to flatter guests and how to create special moments for them. Via the Munich Palace Hotel, I became day porter at the Bayerischer Hof in 2005, youngest concierge in all of Munich.

In 2007, I was invited to join The Society of the Golden Keys (Les Clefs d’Or), the greatest privilege! After I acted as department manager of Bavaria, I have been elected vice president of the organisation in 2014.

Tell us about the profession of the hotel concierge. What is special about it, what connects you to this job?

In this profession, it’s all or nothing every day. In a five-star hotel, the guests don’t only expect a nice room, excellent restaurants and a beautiful spa area, but mainly an exceptional service. The hotel concierge represents this extraordinary and bespoke service like no other section of the hotel. We have to provide top performances every day and inspire the guests. Because otherwise, the hotel doesn’t generate any additional value with a concierge.

This challenge stimulates me as a person. The script changes every day, what is crucial is to let a blockbuster develop from it. Day after day.

What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages concerning your profession?

Mentioning all advantages would go beyond the scope of this interview. What is relevant to me is that this occupation offers me the condition to practice it for a long time. Because it’s fun to me! The work with guests, recognizing and fulfilling their wishes, their gratitude when you surprise them positively as well as the daily new challenges make the job interesting. This is only possible with the help of a strong team that pursues the same goals.

To work on days like Christmas Eve or important holidays is a disadvantage that is made up for by a good team. Because if you like going to the hotel, working on holidays is not the end of the world.

What was the most challenging task you received from a hotel guest you could execute? Do you reject certain orders as well?

The wish that was hardest to fulfill thus far was a private loge for the Champions League finals in 2012 that a guest asked for two weeks before the match. The request tempted me right from the beginning because it seemed impossible to fulfill this wish. In the end it all worked out and the guest was able to experience the match in a private loge with eleven friends in the Allianz Arena.

We decline all requests revolving around illegal or morally unjustifiable areas.

Restaurant Garden Salon
© Deidi von Schaewen

Did you have any influential experiences with a special car of a guest?

There is a nice story with a guest from the middle East, taking place on Christmas Eve 2005. As youngest member of the concierge team, I had the pleasure to be on night duty. I was looking forward to guests in Christmas spirit and and to a quiet evening. At around 5 pm, the time of gift giving, the guest contacted me with the wish to rent a Ferrari. He explained to me that the streets would be empty today and as it wasn’t snowing, he wanted to kill some time. I got in touch with some companies that I knew would rent out a Ferrari on such a day. Obviously, nobody was eager to leave their family circle to deliver a fitting car.

A young woman jokingly told me on the phone: “If the guest is buying the car, I’m all up for it, renting is not possible though.”

I contacted the guest and delivered the bad news. As if it was no big deal at all, he answered: “Ok, no problem! I buy!” 90 minutes later, the Ferrari was delivered to the hotel and our guest was ready to enjoy a drive.

Have you seen the movie «The Grand Budapest Hotel»? What do you think of it?

I watched the movie multiple times with great enthusiasm, in German and English language. It’s a very entertaining movie that provides insight in the work (that shouldn’t be taken too seriously at times) and network of the concierge in a beautiful and exciting way. Many viewers learned about the network of Les Clefs d’Or because of the movie which has been a positive attention for us.

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