Loews debuts its Family Concierge program

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NEW YORK -- We are big believers in family travel, said Charlotte St. Martin, executive vice president for marketing at Loews Hotels, in talking about the chains recently launched Family Concierge program.

Available at all Loews properties in the U.S. and Canada, the family concierge is trained to anticipate the needs of families.

In order to accomplish this, Loews partnered with Parenting magazine to develop a training program for staff selected to be the designated family concierge at each of their 20 properties.

Our new Family Concierge program naturally follows our Loews Loves Kids program, the T. Loews for Teens and our Generation G for grandparents traveling with grandchildren programs, St. Martin said.

Jeraldine Jackson of Michigan and her 15-year-old daughter, Nakayia, were among the first to experience the Family Concierge program at New Yorks Regency on Park Avenue in August.

It was excellent, Jackson said. The family concierge was always available to answer questions about dining, shopping, tours and even specific directions.

In fact, my daughter thought the recommendations were very hot, which in a 15-year-olds language is very complimentary, she added.

Guests traveling with children will be contacted prior to their arrival to discuss the specific needs and preferences for their vacation.

St. Martin said the staff then goes through a checklist with families, giving advice and putting our expertise and knowledge of our properties and our destinations at their service.

It could be as simple as answering questions about our kids club and baby-sitting services or more complicated issues like identifying attractions suitable for children of different ages.

The concierge gets a comprehensive training manual addressing a range of family-travel issues, from how to pack for a newborn to appropriate destination activities for families that are traveling with teenagers or siblings of different ages.

Family concierges also receive a couple of days of hands-on training with experts from Parenting magazine.

St. Martin said she foresees a surge in people combining business travel with a family vacation and wants to be ready for them.

She noted that a Yesawich Pepperdine Brown & Russell/Yankelovich report from 2003 showed 19% of business travelers said they would be extremely or very likely to take a combined business and pleasure trip, up from 12% the previous year.

Loews pays 10% commission to agents. For more information, call (800) 23-LOEWS or visit www.loewshotels.com.

To contact reporter Kaleel Sakakeeny, send e-mail to [email protected].

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