Be a Great Concierge

Our family loves to travel. We would rather take a family trip than open presents for a special occasion. We aren’t interested in stuff. We are interested in times. Having great times. If what they say is true and life is short, well then, we want to see as much of this world as possible. One of the best ‘stuff’ gifts I ever received was from my wife. She bought me this really cool framed map of the world. It came with several colored pins. We place pins into the map every time we travel to a new place. There are 3 colors on the map. One is for me. One is for my wife and the third is for family travel. Over the years, work has taken my wife and I to some really unforgettable (and sometimes very forgettable) places in the name of corporate travel. Naturally, our favorite pins are the ones we put in as a family when we get home from a family excursion. The map is right in my office and I’m smiling because it is right in eyeshot of my screen as I type this. For the record, that last sentence was written while staring at the map, not at my fingers while I typed it out. Shout out to you Mrs. Petretoni, my high school typing teacher. I can still hear your lessons in my head, with your slight southern drawl,

“Pinky finger only. Semicolon, P…Semicolon, P.”

Thank you so much Mrs. P.

Back to travel. Anyone who has ever stayed in an unfamiliar place has an ally waiting in your hotel. The concierge. By definition, a concierge is someone who books, schedules, or recommends events or packages for people based on their expertise of the area you’re visiting. Steve’s translation…They solve problems. A great concierge is a great listener. They listen to understand, not respond. They seek information to make an informed decision regarding your needs and questions. A poor concierge pushes us into whatever package or restaurant they get a kickback from. They listen to respond. Fun travel tip. Ask a concierge where they would eat dinner. Chances are, they aren’t going to spend their hard-earned money at a tourist destination. This question has rewarded us with some of the best meals of our lives in places we wouldn’t have looked twice at without the recommendation.

Every day, knowingly, or unknowingly, we act as concierges to people we encounter. Sometimes it’s simple directions when someone is visiting our beautiful communities. Sometimes it’s a friend asking for advice. Other times, someone really wants to tell us when we ask, “how are you?” All of this begs the question. What kind of concierge are you? Do you listen to respond? Or do you truly listen to understand? Are you distracted by your phone? Are you completely there in that moment? Remember the concept of Be Here Now? Or are you a great concierge and really seek to solve the issue for the person seeking you out?

Fortunately, our tribe is made up of really smart, intuitive people and already know the answer to these questions. Consider this a friendly reminder. Nice is free. Kindness costs nothing. To me, advocating for more joy in life is to be a great concierge whenever necessary. There is a world of negative out there. I equate negative with darkness. Kindness with light. Be a light by being a great concierge.

Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter resident and the owner of BetterPlace Consulting. Steve is a Coach, business consultant, and community concierge for all things Up. Reach out to him at

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