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The number of big companies trying to use Twitter to interact with consumers and customers in new and innovative ways is growing almost daily.

One of the companies that stands out as doing something really interesting is hotel chain Hyatt.

Its Twitter concierge service enables twittering hotel guests to tweet concerns, questions or requests to @HyattConcierge. Manned 24x7 by Hyatt's customer service team, @HyattConcierge is quite simply Twitter's first real concierge. If you're staying at a Hyatt hotel in New York, for instance, and want a recommendation for a great Italian restaurant nearby, just tweet. Need extra pillows? Send a DM.

It's a great idea and Hyatt should be applauded for going beyond standard Twitter fare and finding a way to offer its guests real value through their interactions with Hyatt on Twitter. But after reading a first-hand account of one Hyatt guest's use of @HyattConcierge, I had to ask the question: is Twitter really an ideal platform for a concierge service?

In his blog post, Shawn Patriquin details how he successfully used @HyattConcierge when staying at the Park Hyatt in Toronto. His initially questions were answered but a follow-up to a restaurant recommendation slipped through the cracks.

As Patriquin realized, "there it was the kink in this innovative move – it doesn’t allow for 2 way conversation with the same agent on the same topic".

In reality, this really isn't a flaw in Hyatt's initiative; it's a flaw in Twitter. On second thought, to be fair to Twitter, it's just that Twitter isn't an ideal platform for holding one-on-one conversations.

So even though Hyatt's use of Twitter is very cool and forward-thinking, I consider that it's hampered by the platform. In short, Twitter just isn't the right tool for an effective, efficient concierge service. Although I'm sure Hyatt can and will improve how it addresses Twitter's limitations, that still won't change the fact that Twitter and concierges just don't go hand and hand.

Personally, I'd much rather speak by phone with a concierge. It's instantaneous (provided that someone is there to answer the phone) and a 'conversation' that's hard to fit into 140 characters (eg. I have specific needs that need to be detailed) can be handled with much less strain on my vocabulary. Additionally, when I'm on vacation, whenever possible, my laptop is typically stowed away and my cell phone is turned off. Indeed, one of the purposes of a vacation, for me at least, is to escape technology.

Does this mean that Hyatt's Twitter program is a waste? Of course not. It's an additional option for the most connected of Hyatt's guests. I'm sure Hyatt isn't going to ditch its concierge desk or E-Concierge service, but whether Twitter makes for a better investment than its existing concierge offerings and customer service is something that Hyatt should evaluate.

For smaller companies, such an evaluation should be done before jumping in. Provide support and customer service through Twitter poses specific challenges and for businesses that don't have significant resources, training staff to deal specifically with certain platforms may or may not make sense.

Photo credit: DiscoverDuPage via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 27 May, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2402 more posts from this author

Comments (12)

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Vincent

Twitter is obviously the catch-all platform for the day, but as anyone who uses it finds out pretty quick it is fundamentally flawed in a number of ways, and your article merely highlights one of them. 

It's essentially good for a bit of a twitter, but anything more substantial and it falls down pretty fast, the 2-way conversation is a perfect example.  By the time you get into DM you might as well do IM or Live Chat via the website, the only advantage I can see is that if you have a twitter client open already there is no need to go anywhere else, but then again who sits with only Twitter open, and wouldn't have IM and a browser open at the same time. 

I would more readily remember hyatt.com than try and figure out at the hyatt concierge username is on Twitter.

over 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Interesting move by Hyatt. I think you are right about the limitations of Twitter but I don't see them as a reason why it can't work to support a concierge service.

A concierge service works on convenience & speed of action. It is mainly used by people who have little time to do any planning themselves or people who expect answers handed to them on a plate when they ask. Either way Twitter can provide a service and it can provide a 2 way communication.

If there are 3 people working in the Concierge team, each one can have their own Twitter account. Each guest who needs concierge help can be allocated their own personal twitierge (well indulge me a little!). That way the communication can be maintained with 1 person so that there is continuity and recognition. 

The obvious gap is what happens when someone is off shift? Perhaps there can be a cover policy to plug these gaps. So, whilst there are a few holes to fill in the planning,  i think there is great potential. 

The immediacy and ubiquity of twitter means that someone on the move in a city can use their mobile device (or laptop when between meetings) to fire off a few quick request to the twitierge and then have the info waiting for them. This could be preferable to having to call the hotel and then either hang on for an answer of wait for a call back which could easily be missed.

I'll be interested to see how Hyatt develops this service and whether other hotel chains or concierge services follow suit....

thanks

james

over 7 years ago

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Elite Health

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Concierge medicine is driven by patient dissatisfaction over our present fast-food medical model of HMOs, PPOs and a failing Medicare system. Patients love the time they have with their concierge doctors. Doctors love having the time to do what they were trained to do. Unless primary care medicine becomes more attractive to young doctors, by implementing models such as concierge medicine, no one will opt for a career in internal medicine, family practice or pediatrics and the shortage of primary care doctors will only worsen.

I am engaged in Elitehealth.com concierge wellness program which is designed for healthcare at concierge level. They are providing me medication with care at the highest level of comfort. Their wellness program allows me to have a direct access to my personal physician via phone and email, but also in the emergency situation which I had because of having a heart attack, physician came home and also were present in the emergency room to expedite my care. They provided me a patient care concierge who managed all my transportation and accommodation. All this meant a lot to me when it comes to health. So, a concierge level hospitalization is a boon to me, and many other who are desiring to experience.

over 7 years ago

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Marc P

I disagree: travel and hotel information may initiate as 1-to-1 conversation, but it is information that is applicable to all. Here's a sampling of information to prove this point. From @hyattConcierge:

"Jaxx Bistro serves contemporary American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are open from 6am-10pm. Enjoy your day!"

"Absolutely! Try Caren’s Wine and Cheese Bar on Cumberland Ave, just around the corner.http://bit.ly/194rDu"

Check out the stats on that bit.ly link: 18 people have read it so far. (http://bit.ly/info/194rDu)

Personally, I think concierge business is going to be huge on Twitter because its ability to handle decentralized information. You should check out @lonelyplanet for a glimpse of this full potential.

over 7 years ago

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farouk

i belive i will die before i understand why twitter is popular

over 7 years ago

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Personal Concierge

Twitter concierge is of great value , it helps in proper interaction with clients and cutomers , hence builds a corporate enviroment in effecient manner .

about 7 years ago

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Personal Concierge


This is really a good post for someone who want to read more about concierge services. Thanks for sharing.

about 7 years ago

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SEO Web Design

almost 7 years ago

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SEO Web Analytics

Its really intresting reading your post. Another aspect of generic marketing is that the results are shown at different places with google or yahoo api is used for search results

almost 7 years ago

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Pflege Geld

Super job with this post. I added to my favorite list..

over 6 years ago

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Concierge

Having quite a few years of concierge experience in various venues (not just hotel) I think twitter for concierge is great. However its a tool, so it depends on how you use it. Ideally concierge twitter feed should be more of an info platform than a discussion board. Tell guests about cool events, hotel amenities, local attractions and other current tips they may find useful... but don't make it a place to handle individual requests. It's actually surprising more hotels haven't started doing this. Way to go Hyatt!

almost 6 years ago

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Ryan van Zyl

As a very experienced hotel Concierge and a very active Twitter user I can tell you that Twitter is a highly effective guest service tool if used correctly.

The fact that it has shown to have issues and breakdown points in this example proves; as in much of life and work, if you do not manage a process or system correctly it will NOT work.

As with everything it needs to be supported well within a property by the staff who are managing & dealing with the requests, and the industry it's aimed at.

over 4 years ago

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