First time in a fancy hotel and feeling flustered about approaching the concierge?
"After a guest registers at the registration desk," says Eugene Ferguson, president of Les Clefs d'Or, U.S.A., "from that point on -- for anything he might desire -- he's going to pick up the phone and call the concierge."
A sampling of details they handle:
* Airline reservations and confirmations.
* Theater tickets.
* Restaurant reservations.
* Lost luggage.
* On-going hotel reservations (domestic or international).
* Limousines or rental cars.
* Itineraries for sightseeing or shopping.
* Baby sitters, translators, secretaries, tour guides.
* Flowers, fruitcake or fiddlers-three for friends.
Unlike the European concierge, who expects a tip, American concierges do not, and according to one veteran, "Ninety percent of the time, we get nothing. Regular guests might reciprocate by sending you a nice bottle of wine at Christmas time, or something of that nature."
"Completely up to the guest, there's no such thing as what a guest should tip," insists another old hand. However, when pressed, one concierge cautiously offered the information that a basic tip for a single request (theater booking, restaurant reservation, etc.) hovers in the $5-$10 range. Guests staying in the hotel for longer than an overnight -- and regularly asking for concierge services -- perhaps will tip $10 to $50 for a four to five-day stay. Sometimes that's for the entire concierge staff, which could be five or six people.