A minute on the clock: Claudia Manser

15 September 2005
A minute on the clock: Claudia Manser

At just 16, Claudia Manser is London's youngest concierge. She has spent her summer holiday working at the Four Seasons hotel in London, where her job was to give teenage guests advice on cool and fun things to do in the capital. Kerstin Kühn talked to her.

How did you get the job? My mother occasionally works with the Four Seasons doing PR and recommended me for the position. I was looking for a summer job and was going to work in a shop. But being at the hotel was a much more exciting opportunity, so I was very pleased to get it.

Do you want to be a concierge in the future? I don't know. It was a brilliant experience, I learnt a lot, and it's definitely something I'll bear in mind. But I haven't had much time to think about what I want to do in the future and there are other fields I'm also interested in. I guess I'll just keep my options open.

What was your favourite part of the job? Working with the guests was very satisfying. There were people from all over the world and it was great talking to them. Lots of the children were really well travelled, most of them were from the USA but there were many families from across Europe as well.

What didn't you enjoy? Having to get up at 8am during my summer holidays was definitely the part I least enjoyed. And the 30-minute commute wasn't my favourite either.

What tips did you give guests? We wanted to tell people about things they wouldn't normally see as tourists, and encourage them to visit attractions that are interesting for both parents and children. Museums can be quite boring for kids so we suggested the Science Museum, which is great fun for youngsters, or the Victoria & Albert's Touch Me exhibition. For shopping we recommended places like Carnaby Street, Portobello Market or the King's Road.

What was your biggest achievement in the job? It isn't always easy for adults to know what teenagers like to do, so being able to give the hotel a different point of view and to suggest places to the guests, which they enjoyed visiting, was very rewarding.

Would you do it again? Definitely. This time the whole thing was really a bit of an experiment. If I came back and did it again, I think there'd be a lot more interaction and everyone involved, including me, would feel a lot more confident.

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