I laughed heartily when I asked Edgar Magri, Concierge at Corinthia St George, what made him decide to join Corinthia. ‘It’s not what but who. My wife pushed me to work for Corinthia.’
It was his turn to laugh when I explained that he seemed forced by his wife to act. ‘No, no, nothing like that. You see, my wife had worked with Corinthia before, so she knew exactly what a good employer Corinthia is. That was 27 years ago, and I am still here. I never looked back.’
And before that? ‘I didn’t change a lot of jobs. I started working in a factory and, after that, with a construction company. It was totally different from a hotel.”
His genial face and warm personality make you feel you have known him for some time. He instils a familiar, friendly feeling, which, I suppose, are essential ingredients for his job.
What would be the main duties of a concierge? ‘My main duties are to assist clients with their luggage. I also help them with information about where to go around Malta and book them with some good restaurants in and outside the hotel.
But I would say it is imperative for me to see that our clients are happy and enjoying their holiday. So I make it a point to greet them every morning and speak to them. That makes it easier to know our clients and their needs.
My main area of action is the lobby area. I am always there to approach clients and help them with information, booking taxis and transportation around any place in Malta.’
Edgar stopped for a few seconds as if recollecting something and then spoke softly and slowly. ‘Believe me, the moment I truly appreciate and like most in my job is when clients thank me for helping them have a good time at some restaurant, excursion or other place/activity I had recommended. Nothing beats seeing a client satisfied with a service. That is really the secret of success in hospitality. Naturally, the building ambience is important, but the warmth of service is an essential requisite. In these last 27 years, many clients have returned to our hotel because of the staff’s good service. And what really thrills me is when they remember my name without reading my name tag. I feel the warmth of an exchange of feelings.’
How did he fit within the Corinthia family? ‘I am very easy to work with. I get on very well with my colleagues and am always flexible in meeting the management’s needs. I am not saying I do not prefer some colleagues to others. I admire and prefer those who are patient with our clients, especially when they are in a difficult situation. I look up to those who unselfishly offer their best, regardless of their problems. However, I fail to admire those very few who do not work as a team. We depend on each other to reach our goals. No man is an island. No one is extra. We are all essential to reach our ultimate goal.’
I could easily fit Edgar within the hotel setting but wondered what he looked forward to when returning home. ‘I give my all during the day, so when I arrive home, I look forward to relaxing: a good dinner with my family and a glass or two of wine.’
I shook hands with Edgar and again felt a sensation of familiarity and friendship. Indeed, the right man in the right post!