Hotel Butler Service Criteria

Hospitality Butler Service Rating Criteria

The International Institute of Modern Butlers created a rating system based on “butlers” that parallels ratings such as those by AAA and Mobil, but which is focused on butler service in hospitality venues. The purpose of the rating is to help guests make informed decisions about the nature of the butler service being offered by a venue they may be considering, and to assist management and butler employees of those venues in improving their butler offering.


No Butler

The butlers are called such, but have no training or understanding of the nature or skill-sets of a butler, often having a modifier in front of their title, such as “fireplace butler,” “technology butler” or “baby butler.”


One Butler

There is literally one butler on the floor, rushing to service guests who are kept waiting or improperly serviced. There may be more than one butler, but training on the skills of the butler or the grace of a butler are lacking, even though some of the service is being provided.

The following services are offered as a minimum:

  1. Butler in a recognizable and appropriate uniform with name tag
  2. Inspection of the suite before guest arrival to ensure everything clean and working. The alarm clock not set, volumes on radios and TVs set low.
  3. Knowing which guests are coming and greeting them cheerfully and warmly by name on arrival. Smoothing their way through check-in and escorting them to their suite.
  4. The en suite telephones have a butler speed dial button
  5. Attending to guest requests when asked
  6. Following protocol for entering or not entering a room to maintain guest privacy
  7. Cleaning shoes when requested to a basic standard
  8. Returning dry cleaned and laundered clothes to closets
  9. Keeping a sharp eye out for defective equipment or items and having them fixed as rapidly as possible or the guest changed to another room smoothly
  10. Assisting with guest departure by confirming travel arrangements, liaising with Front Desk for the bill, Bellmen for the bags, and Doorman, and personally seeing the guest(s) off with a “thank you” for staying.
  11. Butlers have a sense of decorum and interact with guests and staff alike with refined speech, body language and manner, meaning no slang, swearing or colloquialisms

Two Butlers

The butler-to-guest ratio is still too strained, so guests are kept waiting or not fully serviced, but basic elements of butler service are performed and the butlers have been trained in their profession either in schools or on site. No night butler on duty and no butler coordinators to connect guests with butlers.

In addition to those services of the One Butler facility, the following are offered as a minimum:

  1. Keeping a rudimentary record of guest preferences and using it to personalize the guest experience
  2. Greeting guest at front door and touring them around the facility and their suite, if desired, and handling of guest check in en suite
  3. Offering to unpack and pack suitcases and doing so professionally
  4. Cleaning shoes, steam or iron clothes in need when requested
  5. Returning laundered & dry cleaned clothes to the right places in the closet
  6. Providing a morning wake-up beverage service
  7. Presenting food en suite, checking that what was ordered was delivered and all needed items brought up by Room Service
  8. Taking care of guest entertainment and activities, making reservations.
  9. Bringing the bill to the guest and returning it signed to the Front Desk, sorting out any issues.
  10. Checking the room after guest departure to ensure nothing left behind. Forwarding it if so.
  11. Butlers understand that, while still being friendly, they are there to serve, not to be interesting or intrude upon guest space.
  12. All butlers connected with a two-way radio and discreet earpiece
  13. Radio etiquette followed, including removing bud when servicing guest.
  14. Fresh flowers provided and wilting ones removed before they become noticeably sad.


Three Butlers

There are enough butlers in shifts to manage guests, including night butlers, butler coordinators, and a head butler. The Butler department exists as its own department, not under Housekeeping, Concierge, Room Service, F&B, or any other department. Guests are offered a good range of butler services and these are satisfactorily executed. Butler service has been established and fine-tuned with the assistance of trained professionals.

 In addition to those services of the Two Butler facility, the following are offered as a minimum:

  1. A reasonably thorough electronic record (backed up regularly) of guest preferences based on their stays that is used to prepare for guest returns.
  2. Pre-arrival interviews are pleasantly and efficiently conducted to determine guest needs. All reservations are made and confirmed either by mail, fax, e-mail or telephone. Pick-up arrangements are made.
  3. Pre-arrival checks are made of the suites before guest arrival to ensure everything clean and operational, with a basic amenity provided
  4. Guest greeted at the door with a basic beverage and napkin
  5. Following up on guest activities to ensure service is being and was well delivered.
  6. Turndown by Housekeeping and checks by the butler are made while guests are out to dinner to ensure everything is ready, neat and clean for guest’s return. A basic amenity is provided.
  7. Providing a wake-up service, menu including beverage, newspaper, drawing of bath, laying out of clothes.
  8. Laying any table for room service ordered, announcing the meal is served and if there will be anything else
  9. Providing and either pointing out or explaining the list of butler services for guests when they first arrive with an invitation to utilize the service
  10. Cleaning shoes, steaming or ironing clothes to professional standards when noticing that they are in need of such, leaving a note to that effect upon returning them.
  11. Providing a guest itinerary at start of stay, and an updated daily one each evening at turndown
  12. Morning wake-up service includes cluing guest in on the weather as it affects their activities for the day, and what their activities are
  13. Basic afternoon snack provided
  14. Basic fruit bowl and flower arrangement provided
  15. Removing plastic wraps, clips, safety pins, labels and other laundry/dry cleaning bric-a-brac when returning clothes to closet, and transferring dry cleaning from wire hangars to the wooden/cloth ones available for guests
  16. Offering a basic travel care package the day before departure and placing it in the departing vehicle just before the guest enters
  17. All speed dial buttons on the telephone go to the Butler Coordinator (BC) (except an emergency one if desired)
  18. BC picking up by the third ring latest and greeting guest by name and courteously
  19. BC logging all requests and relaying them immediately
  20. BC chasing up to ensure guest requests are filled
  21. All butlers connected via two-way radio with a dedicated band for the butlers
  22. The White Board is kept up to date to manage guests
  23. Butlers are very professional in their behavior, observing the emotional tone/body language of the guests and responding appropriately
  24. All butler personnel discreet, quietly observing and acting to service guests
  25. Butler uniforms are sharp and well conceived, yet appropriate for the environment. Butler grooming is impeccable, with regular inspections by the Head Butler
  26. Guest follow-up, inviting to return based on some event that aligns with their preferences.
  27. A generally favorable opinion exists among fellow employees, management and guests of the Butler Department and its personnel, resulting in support from these other personnel, and vice versa.

Four Butlers

Butlers provide excellent, often invisible service to guests who are wowed by the attention to detail. Includes a full complement of butlers who have sufficient presence with the rest of the employees that they have raised their level of service and can obtain instant service for guests. Butler Department personnel receive ongoing training and quality control to keep them sharp and there is a Deputy for the Head Butler who facilitates this training and other organizational steps to keep the Butler Department running smoothly.

 In addition to those services of the Three Butler facility, the following are offered as a minimum:

  1. An electronic record of guest information that includes much information gleaned through unobtrusive observation during their stays, from pre-arrival interviews, and from follow-up communications.
  2. Arrival amenities are tailored to guest preferences or celebration of occasions, and varied between visits
  3. Arrangements made for limo pick-up as needed, with a care package for guests to freshen themselves on the way to the resort/hotel.
  4. Guest greeted at door with either a preferred complimentary beverage or, if not known, a refreshing one characteristic of the local area, finely presented on salver.
  5. Turndown amenities are always varied
  6. Choice of afternoon snacks provided in rotation, with possibility of guest request for a specific one
  7. Fruit bowl provided and updated, with knife, plate, napkin for each guest
  8. Full table service provided for suites with dining rooms, using either butler service or synchronized service.
  9. Following up on guest activities to ensure service is being and was well delivered. Handling any upsets or concerns to satisfaction of guest; supporting those who serviced guests well
  10. Folding cleaned laundry and placing in drawers
  11. When cleaning shoes, replacing old or frayed laces
  12. Offering a menu of items for a travel care package the day before departure, including food and drink, and placing in vehicle in a small insulated bag just before guests climb in
  13. While being interested in guests, rather than trying to be interesting to them, butlers also are able to carry off their duties and interchanges with guests and other employees, even in the most tricky of situations,  with a degree of panache
  14. Extra special touches are made to wow guests, based on their preferences
  15. All guest requests handled within minutes, or responded to within minutes and then worked on, if the handling is not short and simple
  16. BCs follow up on and escalate guest requests if not attended to within half an hour
  17. Butlers able to satisfy secretarial/technological/business centre service requests
  18. All butlers connected by a PDA that also allows them to input and retrieve information in real time on guests
  19. Butlers make a point of noting down all data of interest in serving guests
  20. Guest follow-up includes personal touches such as Holiday Cards
  21. The Butler Department is considered an asset by management and the rest of the employees, and supported in terms of being kept established, given the tools it needs, and in servicing the guests

Five Butlers

Guests have their own private butler able to do anything (legal) required, including playing golf, tennis, chauffeuring, or whatever activities the guest may have available locally and want to engage in with the butler as a companion. Where spa service is offered, the butler is also the spa therapist or so knowledgeable in spa methodology that he or she presents a seamless experience for the spa-going guest.

 In addition to those services of the Four Butler facility, the following are offered as a minimum:

  1. A very detailed record of guest likes and dislikes that is followed meticulously on subsequent trips, including personal and familial information
  2. Guest greeted at the airport or harbor by the butler and whisked away in a limo while a chauffeur retrieves the baggage and brings it to the suite.
  3. Arrival and turndown amenities are of interest/value to the guests
  4. Departing amenity personally presented on behalf of management
  5. Afternoon snacks are to order
  6. Fruit and flower arrangements provided according to guest preference and adjusted according to guest demand
  7. Food is served en suite by the butler
  8. Food is served anywhere else by the butler, such as a picnic elsewhere
  9. Accompanying guests whenever needed or desired, to ensure their activities go very smoothly—includes playing games against them when requested, (and letting them just win overall).
  10. Handling paparazzi so they do not intrude upon guest pleasures
  11. Screening of calls if desired
  12. Restocking the mini bar
  13. Making and serving drinks en suite
  14. Sending cards and gifts to mark various events, from birthdays to anniversaries, etc., and maintaining a supportive line with guests as appropriate
  15. Returning shoes in shoe bags if not already, and organizing for broken or otherwise degraded shoes to be mended at a cobbler
  16. Guest requests and all phone speed dials go to the butler’s cell phone/Blackberry
  17. BCs exist to expedite guest requests for the butler as needed, and coordinate personal butlers in full servicing of guests
  18. Butlers are so attuned to guest needs, and so consummate at judging moods and desires, that they can anticipate needs and act accordingly.
  19. Escorting guests back to the airport/port or other departure point


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