She’s ambitious, she’s determined and she’s gonna dominate the Concierge scene.
I recently had the absolute pleasure of reconnecting with a colleague from my Four Seasons Austin days, Marama Nengel, while in Baltimore, MD on business. Marama is an astute hospitality professional who has achieved an enviable level of accomplishment in the hospitality industry.
I was able to sit down with Marama during our time together and interview her for my spotlight piece in The Hotel Man – The hotelier’s ultimate resource. Read about her passion and zest for hospitality and her roadmap to hospitality excellence.
THM: What is your current position?
Marama: I am currently the Supervising Concierge at Four Seasons Baltimore.
THM: What does your job entail on any given day?
Marama: It really varies day to day. I never know what request is going to come to the desk so I stay prepared for anything. The majority of requests are for transportation, dining reservations and sitting services.
THM: You were recently awarded membership to the Les Clefs d’Or USA society. What exactly is Les Clefs d’Or?
Marama: It is the highest accolade that a career Concierge can get. We wear the gold cross keys on our lapels and it signifies that we are an expert in our respective field. Les Clefs d’Or acts as a network to further enhance our craft and the guest’s experiences all over the world.
THM: Impressive! How did you prepare for this?
Marama: I had to meet specific requirements to even apply, and the application is seemingly a test in itself. You must be a hotel concierge for a minimum of 5 years, be active in your local Concierge association, and be sponsored by two current Les Clefs d’Or members. Once your application is accepted, you take a lengthy test that must be completed in 2 weeks. You get tested anonymously and are evaluated by all of the Les Clefs d’Or members.
THM: Wow. How long did it take to get to this prestigious point in your career?
Marama: I was awarded my keys in May of 2016, so roughly 8 years.
THM: What are two things you love about your position that gets you up in the morning?
Marama: 1. Forming lasting relationships with my guests. I have a handful of loyal guests that look to me often for travel guidance and it is an honor that they trust me. 2. Making new Concierge friends! I love reaching out to my fellow Les Clefs d’Or members and putting special touches on my guest’s stays at other properties around the world.
THM: What is the most challenging aspect of your position?
Marama: We are often doing multiple things at once – it is very important for us to write down all requests to keep track of what needs to be prioritized. Oh, and when we get challenging requests such as buying a Christmas train or miniature pony… Ha!
THM: What do you plan to focus on in the foreseeable future?
Marama: I want to be more involved with Les Clefs d’Or and perhaps someday run for the Board of Directors.
THM: If you owned a hotel, what’s the one amenity MUST HAVE for your guests?
Marama: Technology charging stations in the rooms. Our guest must stay connected!
THM: What do you have to say to the up-and-coming hotel Concierge professionals out there?
Marama: We are in the position to really touch and wow our guests. We should be actively looking for every opportunity to do so and are lucky to be Concierges.
Needless to say, I had such an awesome time interviewing Marama and catching up over a glass of wine. I realized she has such spirit and passion for hospitality, which really resonates with me. If you wish to know more about that passion or Concierge life, feel free to connect with Marama on LinkedIn.