One of the nice things about staying in a good hotel is that virtually everything is taken care of for you. Anything you need from food to a toothbrush, you can have simply by asking.
Recommendations for things like dining, services and entertainment are also often readily available via an on-site concierge at your hotel. Requesting a hotel massage service – where a massage therapist to come to your room to perform an in suite massage is something concierges can often help with.
As with massage therapists, not all concierges are created equal. There are some wonderful concierges who genuinely care about their guest’s experience and only want the best for them. They will seek out the top services, attractions, restaurants etc. so that they can make informed recommendations to guests.
At the same time, it’s no secret that many concierges, including many of the good ones, do receive commissions and other types of kickbacks from the businesses they regularly recommend. When it comes to massage, for a concierge to regularly work with a single in-room massage provider, it’s quite common for them to expect a commission for every referral. There is nothing innately wrong with this and should a concierge call us here at Body Well we are happy to take the request and offer a thank you in some form or fashion to the concierge.
The thing massage consumers have to watch out for is a situation where the only criteria being used by the hotel concierge is the commission itself, or simply referring all of the business to the highest “bidder”. Or it might not even be about money. Maybe the concierge has a personal relationship with the owner of a mobile massage company that comes to hotels. The priority may not be how effectively that company delivers services and the customer’s level of satisfaction, but rather looking out for a friend, while an unknowing guest would hope that something more relevant to their experience would be the number one consideration.
My recommendation when seeking a massage at your hotel provided by an independent company (not directly affiliated with the hotel), would be to try to do some of your own research even if you are in consultation with the hotel’s concierge. Go ahead and ask the concierge: what company are you working with? Where do you find the massage therapists you recommend? If you are able to get a clear answer, go online and check them out for yourself. Does the provider have any legitimate online reviews? Are they accredited by the Better Business Bureau? Do they provide services exclusively to hotel guests who are more likely to be one-time consumers or do they also serve the local community and develop lasting relationships?
You might even discover that the rate the concierge has quoted you is higher than a published rate on the company’s website. In that case the concierge is not only not looking out for your best interest, but he or she is actually taking advantage of your trust by pocketing even more than the commission they are most likely already receiving from the provider. That’s just downright shady behavior and I believe a violation of some kind of concierge code of ethics (not that I am an expert!). I can say from personal experience that I’ve seen it happen, and I didn’t like it.
It all comes back to simply being an informed consumer. If you find it more convenient to procure services with the help of an on-site concierge, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to put your full faith and trust in that individual and his or her desire to do nothing more than to provide you with the best possible services, that is certainly your choice to make. Most of the time you’ll probably do just fine going that route. But for those who want to have a little more insurance against getting subpar service or at worst being taken advantage of, there are tools available to you and probably lots of great options that you would never discover relying solely on your concierge.
In any case, if you do book a massage for your hotel room the next time you are traveling for business or pleasure, I genuinely hope it is a great one!
Owner & Founder, Body Well