20 MINUTES WITH // GUSTAVO CONCHA

At the Hilton Auckland for 15 years now, Gustavo Concha was born in Chile and after finishing school joined the Navy and travelled the globe for a year before moving to New Zealand in 1990. After completing his overseas experience onboard the Esmeralda Training School Ship, he was fortunate enough to have a career in the hospitality industry, starting out at the Carlton Auckland Hotel. From humble beginnings here he worked in housekeeping, then as a part-time porter and assistant concierge. Concha was promoted to Chief Concierge, overseeing the complete guest services of the 455-room hotel.

“Finding this career path to be so very rewarding, I haven’t looked back since,” he said.

Initially wanting to become an engineer, Concha studied to do so before joining the hotel industry before realising that hospitality was his future moving forward.
“Within my current role as Chief Concierge at Hilton Auckland, I believe in the professional development of my wider team, creating an environment with a balance of friendliness and always striving to ensure that each guest feels cared for, valued and respected, in line with our Hilton brand promise.”

As Chief Concierge, Concha is fortunate enough to work within a diverse industry which ensures his role is challenging on a daily basis, yet balanced out by having fun with the team.
Concha said the skills most necessary for his work include knowledge, a friendly disposition, teamwork, key supplier relationships and the willingness to assist with each and every query that comes his way.

“National and local knowledge is a key factor in the daily operations of a professional concierge, ensuring our guests’ expectations are met.”
When giving guests the hotel experience, it is important to Concha to ensure that he knows what guests want and naturally catering to their needs.

“We work in a city that offers a wide range of great outdoor activities; our celebrated Waitemata Harbour with nearby islands where you can travel to unwind or relax at one of the surrounding coastal beaches or enjoy a bush walk on the West Coast.

“We have prominent restaurants with iconic views and many first class wineries, showcasing the best of New Zealand cuisine.”
Within 20 years of experience in hospitality Concha has learned that hotels are about people.

“Properties can be in a great location, have the latest technology, and good venues to cater for guests requirements. However, having the right people in each role will ensure a memorable experience and guests will return, making the hotel their second home.”

He said technology is a big part of changes in the hotel industry.
“Most guests do their research prior to arriving at their destination, using sites that provide feedback on each property. Guests’ expectations are increasing year on year. The challenging aspect of this is to ensure our recommendations are accurate and updated on a regular basis.”

After 20 years, his biggest achievement is still getting up every morning thinking it is going to be a great day.
“The culture at Hilton Auckland ensures the work atmosphere is rewarding.”

He has been faced with many challenges after 15 years at the property. However, the most memorable one was arranging a wedding within 24 hours for a young couple.
“This included organising a venue, celebrant, wedding dress, suit, and witnesses plus wedding rings. I have to say that topped the list.”

Future goals for Concha are continuing to enjoy his profession as a Chief Concierge, meeting people from all around the world, assisting them, sharing his experiences with work colleagues and living each day to the fullest.

Within New Zealand, Auckland is his favourite city, perhaps because he has lived here since arriving at the country.
“We are privileged to live in a beautiful country; many great destinations are not too far away.”

Internationally, he would love to work in New York and Dubai.
“They are vibrant and cultural cities and who knows where the future may take you, especially when you are working in hospitality.”

Gustavo is married to wife Roberta and is a father of two boys.
He has been an active member of Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand and the U.I.C.H. Les Clefs d’Or International Concierge Society of the Golden Keys since 1999 and held positions as treasurer, president, and Oceania Zone Director.