Hotel Butler Service Criteria

The International Institute of Modern Butlers created a rating system based on “butlers” that parallels ratings such as those by AAA and Forbes, 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 butlers in 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 it is clean, stocked and all equipment is working. The alarm clock is not set, volumes on radios and TVs are 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 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 suite smoothly;
  10. Assisting with guest departure by confirming travel arrangements, liaising with Front Desk for the bill, Bellmen for the luggage, 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, helping sort out any issues;
  10. Checking the room after guest departure to ensure nothing has been 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 smart phone;
  13. Calls forwarded when with guests so they receive the butler’s undivided attention;
  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, or sent via email, to determine guest needs. All desired reservations are made and confirmed either by mail or e-mail. Pick-up arrangements are made;
  3. Pre-arrival checks are made of the suites before guest arrival to ensure everything is clean, stocked 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 was/is being delivered well;
  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 asking 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 and putting them away;
  11. Providing a guest itinerary at start of stay, and an updated daily one each evening at turndown if there be any changes;
  12. Morning wake-up service includes informing guests 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. Speed dial buttons on the telephone go to the Butler Coordinator (BC) and emergency;
  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 smart phone, text and phone;
  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;
  26. Butler grooming is impeccable, with regular inspections by the Head Butler;
  27. Guest follow-up by the butler, inviting to return based on some event that aligns with their preferences;
  28. 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, generally 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 private car/limousine 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 beverage with the compliments of the hotel/resort or, if not known, a refreshing one characteristic of the local area, finely presented on a 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 plated 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 center service requests;
  18. All butlers connected by smart phone that also allows them to input and retrieve information in real time on guests;
  19. Butlers make a point of inputting 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 a 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 can also be the spa therapist or so knowledgeable in spa methodology that he or she presents a seamless experience for the spa-going guest. Relationships are developed with guests, such that they prefer to return to the property in large part because of the butler.

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 limousine 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 made 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. Avoiding/handling paparazzi so they do not intrude upon guest pleasures;
  11. Screening guest calls if desired;
  12. Restocking the personalized 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 with shoe trees 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 smart phone;
  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.