The Crowne Plaza Times Square Manahattan is next to Hershey's marquees in NYC.

Life as a New York City Concierge

This ICE alum works at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan as a City Experts concierge.

Ritin Chakrabarti (Hospitality, ’18) came to the Institute of Culinary Education with an interest in pastry from watching the Cooking Channel and Food Network. After getting to know Ritin’s personality, an admissions rep invited the prospective student to sit in on a hospitality class. “One of Andrew Catalano’s classes was all it took,” says Ritin, who enrolled in ICE’s Hospitality & Hotel Management program in 2017.

“The most valuable lesson was how the hospitality industry is forever changing due to globalization and technology, with trends like ecotravel,” Ritin adds. “We should always be up-to-date with trends and technology so that we can best serve the guests.”

Ritin and fellow hospitality students celebrate the last day of class at ICE.
Ritin (second from right) and fellow hospitality students celebrate the last day of class at ICE.

As part of the program, Ritin completed an externship in the Hotel Edison’s guest relations department, which he credits with leading him to the concierge path.

“I was part of the team that helped create those special moments that would make a guest’s stay something they could always remember,” he says. “I really wanted to focus on helping create those special memories.”

About six weeks after graduation, Ritin accepted a position with City Experts, the concierge service division of Twin America, a major bus and motor coach sightseeing and transportation company. The concierge branch has service desks at more than 85 hotel properties in Manhattan.

What attracted Ritin most to the concierge position was the combination of guest services, guest relations and sales. “[City Experts] emphasizes that our job is not about making sales but more about making memories for our guests,” Ritin says. “We work only four days a week – granted, it is four 10-hour days, but having three days off a week is great.”

Ritin helps a guest book a show at the Crowne Plaza.
Ritin helps a guest book a show at the Crowne Plaza.

As a concierge, he has interaction with guests who are looking for things to do while on property or who want to have their activities planned out prior to arriving. Ritin arranges:

  • Broadway, sports, museum and concert tickets
  • Sightseeing tours, helicopter tours, dinner cruises
  • Dinner reservations
  • Airport shuttle service
  • Hair and makeup appointments
  • Flower and balloon arrangements
  • Champagne, cakes, chocolates, food and fruit baskets
  • Pet grooming appointments
  • Doctor's appointments in case a guest falls ill while at the hotel
  • Overnight excursions to D.C., Boston and Philadelphia
  • Shopping excursions to Woodbury Commons
  • Two-day excursions to Niagara Falls

“We can book all of these directly from the user interface on our computers,” he says. “Pretty much anything a guest could want, we either have available or can get for them.”

The booking and reporting system that Ritin uses is similar to OPERA, the popular property management system used at hotels that’s an essential part of ICE’s hospitality curriculum. “Instead of reservations for rooms, we are booking tours, tickets and other attractions,” he adds. “We have to prepare a daily report and a daily audit, which are all things that I learned in the program at ICE.”

Beyond his salary, commission and three days off a week, Ritin says, “It is very rewarding when a guest comes back and thanks you for making suggestions for what to do and helping them get the tickets or make the provisions to carry out whatever activities they wanted.”

Pursue a career making memorable experiences for travelers with ICE’s Hospitality & Hotel Management program.

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