An interview with Désirée Stoops

Who: Désirée Stoops

Position: Senior Guest Service Assistant at The Dylan Amsterdam

 

How long have you been at The Dylan? And can you describe your role?

This year is actually my fifth year at The Dylan. My role is quite varied, which I really enjoy. I love being busy with all kinds of things. As the Senior Guest Services Assistant, GSA for short, I am responsible for all of the reception tasks – so check-in, check out, registration work and assisting as a host. But I am also the certified trainer for new front office colleagues and trainees. I take the lead whenever we have a new member joining our team, acting as their guide and point of contact during their training. Together with the HR department, I also do interviews for new front office trainees.

Have you always wanted to work in hospitality?

Since I was a child, it has always been my dream to work in a hotel. I don’t know why! I’ve just always wanted to do what I do. I studied hotel management in Antwerp and my love of hospitality was solidified during my traineeship in Amsterdam. Hospitality is really my passion and I go to work every day with a smile.

What does a typical day look like?

First things first, arriving at work means checking emails, confirming the arrivals and departures of the day, and to see if there is anything special on the agenda. When I am at reception, the full day begins already with conducting check-ins and check-outs, answering the phone, helping guests. When there is a trainee, they shadow me during the day and I guide them through their role until they are fully trained. I teach them how to be a receptionist in a five-star hotel. And every trainee is different, so that makes it fun and challenging to get every trainee to the high standard that we maintain at The Dylan.

I assume you work closely with the concierges?

The two people in the front office are the GSA and the concierge, so we work closely together on a daily basis. It’s very important to have a good working relationship because it’s our goal to reach that high level of service, and that can only happen if we work as a team. We want to have the guest 100% happy and we always want to be one step ahead of them in order to surprise them throughout their stay. So we are always communicating to make the process as smooth as possible.

Can you walk us through the typical arrival and departure experience of a guest at The Dylan?

As a GSA, I accompany the guest throughout the whole process of their stay, starting with the welcome and ending with the goodbye. When the guests arrive, the concierges go out to meet and welcome them, to assist with luggage, and to guide them to the front desk where the GSA will be waiting. Our check-in process is quite flexible, we offer the guest to have a seat so that they can enjoy our beautiful welcome refreshment. This is usually a drink and a snack prepared daily in our kitchen, and it’s different depending on the time of day. For example, in the morning we could offer tea with a delicious madeleine, and in the evenings a fresh drink and classic Dutch herring.

During the check-in, we confirm all of the guest’s details, including if they booked any tours or reserved a table at a restaurant. Afterwards, we show them to their room, pointing out all the hotel amenities they might make use of during their stay. Some guests have many questions, others prefer to arrange things themselves. We try to keep preferences for each guest in mind during their stay to accommodate them personally.

To prepare for check out, we ask guests if they want a wake-up call or for us to arrange a taxi. The check out then is as smooth as possible. If everything is settled, they can almost just walk out. All in all, it’s an exceptional experience, which is very important for people who are on holiday.

In your opinion, what makes the experience at The Dylan so unique?

It’s the staff and the product working in tandem. As soon as you walk into The Dylan, you’re not in the busy city anymore, you’re in an oasis, a beautiful, historic building where you can truly relax. The atmosphere is quintessentially Amsterdam, with the canal just out front, bikes passing by as you lookout. And every room of the hotel is exceptionally designed, every corner reveals something comfortable.

All of the staff at The Dylan go the extra mile. We keep each other accountable and help push each other to maintain the service at the highest quality. We always try to be one step ahead and make the guest feel at home in a warm, happy atmosphere.

What is your favourite part of what you do?

Definitely making the guest happy. When I see that they appreciate our service and care, that’s the most rewarding feeling. It’s really nice knowing that we all did a good job.

What is your most memorable story involving a guest?

There are so many good ones! But one that really stands out is when we had a VIP guest staying with us. I was on the night shift and she called down for the room service menu, with many lovely dishes – but she said she just wanted a sandwich with peanut butter! It’s not on the menu, but we had some in the staff kitchen. But I thought, ‘We can’t give that to her, it’s from the staff kitchen!’ But I called her up and she was totally fine with it, she just wanted this sandwich. So I made her this really nice peanut butter sandwich and she was so happy. Sometimes it’s those little things that give the most joy.

What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to recommend?

One current favourite is this restaurant called Choux near Central Station. I went with my family and we all loved it and still talk about it. I like all of the local bars, the kind of typical Dutch cafes where you can have a beer and some bites. You can find me in Michelin star restaurants and breweries – I love trying everything and that makes it easy to recommend places to our guests. One place I love – and not just because I work here – is Vinkeles. It’s simply fantastic and I am already looking forward to eating there again. It’s convenient that I work so close!