Matt DuFour says he has the coolest job in the world. Few would argue.
As Vibe Manager for the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, DuFour’s full-time, salaried duties include giving guests DJ lessons and creating unique mixes for events. He also coordinates the music playing in every inch of the hotel’s public spaces – that’s 52 separate playlists.
The Vibe Manager curates ear candy at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, including that of its chic 207 lounge. — Photo courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel San Diego
“The Vibe Manager position is a brand standard for Hard Rock Hotels,” says Matt Greene, VP of operations. “His primary role is to create and enhance the overall ambience of the hotel through music … as well as introducing knowledge of our memorabilia to the guests.”
Music, says DuFour, is Hard Rock’s No. 1 brand differentiator. “Having a point person with music industry and branding experience is a way to ensure that music is incorporated into the guest experience in an authentic way. The music that plays in the elevator or lobby changes throughout the time of day and day of week to reflect the property’s energy.”
Cowgirl Concierges help guests make the most of their stay at Tanque Verde Ranch. — Photo courtesy of Tanque Verde Ranch
Indeed, from the turntable to the stable, the bedside to the bar, many hotel brands are creating unique new positions with a tight focus on enhancing guest experience to the Nth degree.
Ride ‘em, Cowgirls
At Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch, staffers used to walk the dining hall at dinner to sign guests up for activities. These days, they have a Cowgirl Concierge. Two to be precise.
“Guest feedback has been great,” says concierge Kelly Hoffman, “mostly because they’re able to really focus on which activities are available each day so those who visit the ranch with the goal of leaving a more experienced rider can plan ahead to make sure they … can participate in a lope ride, the most skilled rides offered here.”
They help plan special moments, like proposals, as well, says Hoffman's fellow cowgirl Kelsey Anderson. “We’ve also coordinated weddings ‘on the fly!’ And by that I mean arranging for a hot-air balloon departure from the parking lot!”
Does working at the resplendent Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, California seem like enough of a job perk? The property’s Tequila Connoisseur might beg to differ. “I love my role, mostly because of the amazing opportunity to help people discover the wonderful world of agave spirits,” says Chris Simmons, who recently coordinated Rancho Valencia’s first annual All Things Agave Party. “It’s an exciting category, ripe to change people’s minds.”
Fortaleza blanco pairs nicely with California skies. Just ask Rancho Valencia's Tequila Connoisseur. — Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Unsurprisingly, many guests report having had a bad tequila experience in their earlier drinking days. Simmons, whose favorite cocktail is the Neck Shot, a spin on the classic Paloma with a house-made grapefruit soda, says he enjoys being the catalyst. “I love showing them that tequila has really evolved into something they may not even recognize.”
The Neck Shot is Rancho Valencia's take on a classic Paloma cocktail. — Photo courtesy of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Fire it up
Guests with a romantic inclination (or simply the chills) can call on L’Auberge de Sedona’s Fireside Concierge for a hot hookup. “During the fall and winter, guests love the romance of wood-burning fireplaces and take advantage,” says L'Auberge's firebuilder-in-chief Beau Franklin. “Often, they’d call and order room service so we thought to implement a new Fireside Delight menu to accompany the experience.”
Quest for Fire: Guests at L'Auberge de Sedona need only call on the Fireside Concierge. — Photo courtesy of L'Auberge de Sedona
Franklin says guests love that they can call a concierge to get the fire going for them while they’re out having dinner or sightseeing. Come the warmer climes of spring and summer, L’Auberge brings back their Red Rock Hiking Concierge, as well.