Last June 16th of the current year, the 1st Convention of Hotel Butlers of the country was held in the premises of Hotel Grand Bávaro Iberostar in the area of Bávaro, Dominican Republic. It was also the first of its kind at the international level, because there is no reference of this type of event in any other destination.
The Consulting Firm Hotelería de la Experiencia (Experiential Hospitality), headed by Mr. Osvaldo Torres Cruz, with more than 12 years of experience as a Hotel Butler and 8 years in the development and training of Hotel Butlers in different destinations in the Caribbean and South America, summoned the Head Butlers and Butler Supervisors of the major hotels that offer this particular and distinctive service in the eastern part of the country, the most thriving tourist destination today. Also, they invited the Association of Hotels and Tourism Projects of the Eastern Zone, represented by its Executive Director, Lic. Janet Ivelisse Guerrero; and the Institute of Technical and Professional Training (INFOTEP), represented by the Eastern Region Manager, Mr. Bernardo Orlando Almonte, and Mrs. Lissette Torres, Training Coordinator, and Mr. Roberto Rodriguez, Training Advisor.
The Hotels represented in the event were:
-Hotel Iberostar Grand Bavaro, by Mr. Miguel Acosta, Head Butler, and Mr. Nelson Alvares and Franklin Castillo, Steward Supervisors.
-Hotel Hard Rock, by Mr. Jonhatan Rijo, Butler.
-Hotel Secrets, by Mr. Alexis Astacio, Head Butler.
-Hotel Now, by Eduardo Marcial, Head Butler.
-Hotel Chic by Royalton, by Miss Yleana Peguero, Head Butler and Mr. Rolando Rotchif, Butler.
-Hotel Bahia Principe Esmeralda, by Mr. Ramon Diaz, Head Butler.
-Hotel Palma Real, by Mr. Jorge Abreu, Head Butler.
From left to right: Miguel Acosta, Jonhatan Rijo, Rolando Rotchif, Alexis Astacio, Eduardo Marcial, Yleana Peguero, Janette Guerrero, Orlando Almonte, Lisset Torres, Nelson Alvarez, Franklin Castillo, Ramón Diaz, Roberto Rodríguez. (Jorge Abreu was missing at the time of the picture).
The topics under discussion were:
1- Job profile of Hotel Butlers:
The participants reached consensus that the main skills, abilities and aptitudes of a Hotel Butler include:
-deep love for others,
as well as a high level of emotional, social, cultural, relations-building and creative intelligence, among others.
2- Job specifications of Hotel Butlers.
Participants discussed about how the specifications of this position vary according to the vision each property has of the position, which makes them very diverse, and many times this becomes a powerful constraint to establish the main job specifications as agreed, namely:
a) Be closer to the guest to know him/her better.
b) Offer a tailor-made service once the butler gets to know guests better, that is, a really personalized service.
c) Get the butler become the manager par excellence of the guest´s experience at the hotel.
Besides, they discussed about the need to make hotel companies aware of the aforementioned objectives so as to improve the operativeness of this job position for the benefit of the hotel and the guest that pays for this service. All participants also agreed that this position is, without any doubt, the most distinguishing characteristic a hotel may have.
3- Operational tasks of the Hotel Butler.
This point was, without doubt, one of the most debated, for the operational tasks of a Hotel Butler are so diverse and different from hotel to another, depending on the vision and objectives set by each property.
All participants considered that the operational tasks of Hotel Butlers should be in accordance with the goals agreed on before and, above all, allow them to permanently assist the guests and in the same scenario where the guest is in a hotel.
All operational tasks should be focused on assisting all guest needs and for their satisfaction, either in a reactive or a proactive way. These tasks should be conceived in three stages: before the arrival of the guest, during their stay, and once they have left.
Also, they talked about service-types of the job, such as:
-welcoming the guest,
-showing the room,
-service packing and unpacking of their belongings,
-making reservations for restaurants,
-drawing a bath,
-secretarial assistance, among others.
Participants also commented that the Butler is unfortunately assigned some operational tasks or supervisory corresponding to other departments of the hotel, thus taking them away from guests and preventing them from carrying out their stewardship tasks in time and with the required quality.
4- Relations of the Butler with the other departments of a hotel.
The participants reached consensus that one of the characteristics of this position is the constant interaction with all departments of a hotel, as the Butler represents precisely the link between them and the host and vice versa.
However, it is not always possible to establish the best relations with all the departments that offer either direct or indirect services to the guest, because unfortunately, they find the orders requested by the Butler as made personally by him/her, and not by the guest himself/herself.
It was also discussed that due to the enhanced personalization of the service attributes the Butler offers to guests, as well as those requested by them, together with those created by the proactive and anticipatory role of the Butler, both demand and flexibility of services increase, thus generating a work overload for most of the departments involved.
Participants argued for the need to sensitize the other departments about the role of this job position and to demonstrate the benefits a Butler position can generate for the other departments, providing them with specific guest information.
They also raised the fact that butlers have to be aware that they need the other areas of the hotel to meet the requirements of guests, which he/she conveys, so that good interpersonal relationships and humility in recognition and appreciation for them are essential.
5- Empowerment of the Butler´s job.
Here, participants discussed the importance of collaboration of hotel management to facilitate the other areas to understand the importance of this job position in relation to achieving the ultimate guest satisfaction, and in this way empower the position of the Butler in the premises.
In this point, they discussed about what level of Hotel Management the Butler should report their work to, and given his/her close relation to the guests and the advantages this offers in terms of knowledge about the guests, and satisfaction follow-up and dissatisfactions resolution, a consensus was reached that Hotel Butlers should report directly to the General Manager of the Hotel.
6- The training of Hotel Butlers
In this respect, the participants discussed about the importance of a solid and functional job training. Among the basic skills a Hotel Butler should have, the following were mentioned:
- Positive, behavioral, cognitive and personality psychology
- Cultural anthropology
- Etiquette and protocol
- Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP)
- Foreign languages
- Neurosciences applied to services
- Hotel marketing
- Dissatisfaction management and resolution
- Clothing making and services and clothing and footwear maintenance
- Restoration (Food and Beverage)
- Knowledge and training on the operational tasks of other hotel services with which he/she interacts
These skills undoubtedly would enhance the value of this position for companies and, consequently, increase the value of income in terms of salary that Butlers could earn.
7- Selection of Hotel Butlers
This was the last point to be analyzed in the Convention, and therefore less important, as it represents the source and development of the job in a hotel. An appeal was made to the awareness of the Human Resources Departments in the selection of potential candidates, based on the above-mentioned job profile and the need to involve the Head Butlers in the process of selecting candidates.
At this point, the participants called for the need to continue incorporating female staff, which is undoubtedly an element of high differentiating value for the job position. Moreover, in another sense, they talked about how valuable it would be if Hospitality Schools could incorporate the position of Hotel Butler as a job specialty for their students and graduates.
At the closing ceremony, the representatives of the aforementioned invited institutions expressed their gratitude to have participated in this Convention, and pledged to cooperate for all the topics discussed during the day could be followed and developed in the hotels that offer Butler Service in the country, and to help this position to continue representing a high-impact added value in the services hotels offer, and to provide the domestic market with a distinguishing feature par excellence in the current hotel market.
Finally, the participants expressed their gratitude to Mr Amando Pozo , Director of Grand Bávaro Hotel for believing in the importance of holding this event, also to Organizing Committee of the event (Mr. Osvaldo Torres Cruz, Miguel Acosta and Mr. Jorge Abreu), as well as the representatives of the invited institutions mentioned above, for the invitation to participate in this event which, without a doubt, represents a turning point in the Hotel Butler Service, not only nationally, but also internationally.
Osvaldo Torres Cruz
Consulting Firm Hotelería de la Experiencia (Experiential Hospitality)
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