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Despite the convenience of smart-phone apps, websites and impersonal online services that can help you get information or find things to do, nothing replaces the aid of a live human being -- especially one with a smile on his face and volumes of insider knowledge packed behind it. While a computer screen might inform you of a restaurant's hours of operation and overall user rating, only a concierge can let you know where and when the best tables are available, who really has the tastiest steaks, which places are overhyped and which are underused.
Hence the eternal importance of any property's ambassador of goodwill, the concierge. Todd W. Williams is a Chicago-based concierge with over seven years' experience. He relies on his unique background in project management, public speaking, the arts, cultural initiatives, hospitality and non-profit organizations to bring a savvy to his role that gives his clients the extra help they need, whether they're new to the city or longtime dwellers looking for a new experience. His social nature has also led him to chair many non-profit committees, such as the Louisiana Special Olympics and the Human Rights Campaign Fund.
Williams took a moment to answer questions for CareerBuilder about his current role as a concierge:
CareerBuilder: What's the most common need people approach you with?
Todd W. Williams: Directions and nearby restaurants would be the most common requests.
CB: As a concierge, does your job afford you any down time?
TWW: My job does afford me down time. As a concierge, we have many networking events, and after-work events which, even though considered work, I consider a fun way to spend down time.
CB: When are your busiest and least busy times of the day, month, or year?
TWW: My busiest times of the year are early spring to mid-December. I would consider Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as my least busy times. However, as a concierge, one never really knows how a week, month, or year will transpire.
CB: What is one secret to taking your performance from "good" to "outstanding"?
TWW: I pride myself on making my guests, and the vendors I work with feel like family. I welcome guests and make them feel comfortable enough to seek my help as needed.
CB: Has your job been affected at all by fluctuations in the economy?
TWW: Of course. Most industries have been affected by these unfortunate times. I have to be thankful to be where I am today. I enjoy my profession and my industry.
CB: If you were interested in advancing, what opportunities would lie beyond your current role?
TWW: I consider an opportunity a chance to advance in anything that you do. A management role would be familiar to me and welcomed. I do enjoy managing people and situations. Education is also important to me, if my company required or recommended it.
CB: Any tips for your fellow concierges or for those seeking employment as such?
TWW: My recommendation is to stay as focused and real as possible; people can sense otherwise.
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