At 21, Jack McCarthy became the youngest member of Les Clefs d’Or, or the Society of the Golden Keys. He talks to Katherine Price about being a people person and having a natural flair for hospitality
How would you describe your current role at the Cavendish hotel in London?
I oversee the day-to-day operation of the concierge and car park departments, and I have full accountability for people, product and service.
Where do you feel you
have learned the most?
In my current role. It is a great position where I am responsible for managing and dealing with all guest enquiries as well as leading my team. The role is challenging due to the volume of enquiries received, but it’s ultimately very rewarding.
Did your family support
your career choice?
My parents are extremely supportive and are very proud of my achievements. My father owns a successful building company and I once thought that I would follow in his footsteps. However, I had different plans for my future and, looking back now, he’s proud to see that I have made it on my own.
What attracted you to
My journey within hotels started with a two-week work experience placement at the Cavendish at the young age of 15. This was where I found my passion for the industry and especially the concierge department. I loved creating memorable experiences for others and was mesmerised by the amount of trust that the guests placed in the concierge, and the many opportunities we had to leave a lasting impression.
What do you love most
about your job?
Every day has its own challenges and experiences, and I find meeting different people from all around the world and experiencing foreign cultures stimulating and exciting. When I am asked what I do, I am extremely proud to say that I am a concierge.
What is the most difficult aspect?
Keeping up with the ever-evolving city of London. A concierge is each traveller’s key to the city and it is up to us to ensure that we keep our knowledge up to date.
What is the key quality of
The most important is to have a natural flair for customer service and the willingness to bend over backwards for guests and colleagues alike.
What have been your biggest achievements so far?
I would say my two biggest achievements are being awarded Concierge of the Year at the Boutique Hotelier Awards in October 2016 and, in January 2017, becoming the youngest member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or society. Since starting my career in hospitality I have always looked up to the experienced concierge who wears the Golden Keys. It is an honour to now be a part of the society and I look forward to working closely with the other members.
Would you encourage others
I would most certainly recommend becoming a member of Les Clefs d’Or. The society brings you together with a group of talented individuals who, although they might work in different properties all over the world, all share the same passion.
What do you hope to achieve
in your career?
My ultimate aim has always been to become head concierge.
Would you recommend the industry to others?
If you are naturally a people person, then the hospitality industry is most certainly for you, and I strongly recommend becoming a concierge. I started at a very young age with no experience and therefore you can learn on the job as long as you have a natural flair for hospitality – that is the one thing that cannot be taught.
It is a lifetime career that is extremely rewarding. There is nothing more satisfying than receiving a compliment from a guest or making their visit to London more memorable.
2016-present Deputy head concierge, the Cavendish hotel, London
2015-2016 Concierge, Brown’s hotel, London
2011-2015 Junior concierge, the Savoy hotel, London