concierge spotlight: andrea wallace, expedia concierge at aston ka‘anapali shores

The Maui Concierge would like to congratulate Andrea Wallace for her recent accolade from Expedia. She was nominated and won “Concierge of the Year” for all of the Expedia locations in the country, Congratulations Andrea!

—The Maui Concierge: How long have you been a concierge?

Andrea Wallace: I’ve been a concierge for almost six years.

—TMC: What made you choose this profession?

Andrea: A couple of Expedia concierges I know had always told me I would be perfect for this profession. I shadowed them at work one day and absolutely fell in love with the job. I knew right then this was my calling.

—TMC: Tell us a bit about the recent award that you received from Expedia.

Andrea: Each year concierge managers can nominate one or more concierges they feel really excelled throughout the past year for “Concierge of the Year.” I was one of three finalists selected from all Expedia locations around the country (Hawai‘i, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Orlando), and I got to travel to Las Vegas for the awards ceremony. A team of Expedia executives chose the winner based on their nomination letters. My letter included testimonials from past guests who had written to express how happy they were with my services; supply partners expressing how I had made a positive impact on their businesses; and lodging partners expressing how happy they are I represent their hotels. When they announced the winner of this year’s “Concierge of the Year,” it was me! It was such an exciting experience! Lilia Chong, my concierge manager, and I were picked up from the airport in a limo, we stayed at the Bellagio, and we got to attend the annual week-long Expedia conference.

—TMC: Can you describe your typical day?

Andrea: My day usually consists of coming into the hotel early to set up for the Island Orientation. At Aston Ka‘anapali Shores, we usually have somewhere between 20 and 50 guests attend each morning. After the orientation, I help guests set up their dream vacation. I like to spend time with my guests really figuring out what would be the best fit for them when it comes to picking out excursions. I am also a lead concierge, so I help any other concierges that may need assistance throughout the day.

—TMC: What do you love most about Maui?

Andrea: The warm island breezes, beautiful sunsets, friendly community, and laid-back atmosphere.

—TMC: What is your favorite place on the island and why?

Andrea: I have many favorite places, but if I have to pick one it would be Pa‘ia Town. I love the shops, local artwork and, most certainly, all the great restaurants.

—TMC: What is your favorite restaurant and why?

Andrea: Since I live in Kihei I’ve been going to Monkeypod Kitchen quite a bit. I really enjoy the atmosphere, and I love the fresh foods.

—TMC: What is rewarding and exciting about your day?

Andrea: I think most concierges would agree that every day we hear stories from our guests that make our jobs rewarding. It’s exciting when you feel like you have contributed to a family’s special vacation.

—TMC: What are the challenges?

Andrea: Challenges usually occur when something goes wrong. For example, when people try to use a GPS to get to the heliport, they find themselves next to cane fields and they call my desk in a panic.

—TMC: How do you handle challenging situations?

Andrea: I always remain composed and try to get to the root of the issue. There will always be a solution – it may take some time to figure it out but in the end we can always work it out.

—TMC: Can you share a heart-warming story?

Andrea: Recently we had a “Make a Wish” family stay at the hotel. The girl was three years old, and you’d never have known she was sick. But after speaking with her mom, we were all in tears about her daily challenges. Having a three-year-old myself, this really melted my heart. The little girl kept talking about wanting to see dolphins, so we found a boat that had enough shade, was suitable for a three-year-old, and fit into their schedule. We then found out it was too expensive for them. A couple of our concierges pitched in and paid for the family to go. When they got back to the hotel, the look on the little girl’s face was priceless! She saw so many dolphins, and she got pictures of them spinning out of the water. The family thanked us over and over again, and I will never forget the feeling we had that day.

—TMC: What are your favorite island activities, and why?

Andrea: A helicopter tour! I believe it’s truly the BEST way to see the island.

—TMC: What makes an excellent concierge?

Andrea: Attention to detail, friendliness and, most importantly, a “can do” attitude.

—TMC: What advice can you give those who are new to the profession?

Andrea: Make sure you know your products. Every guest is different in their wants and needs. The more you know about each product, the better you can personalize your guests’ vacations and create the best experience for them.

—TMC: If you weren’t a concierge, what profession would you like to attempt?

Andrea: I wouldn’t want to stray too far from a concierge position, so I’d have to say Concierge Manager!

—TMC: What makes you happy?

Andrea: Seeing my three-year-old son on a surfboard. It makes me so happy to know he loves the ocean! I truly feel Maui is a great place to raise kids.

 

 

 

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