What sets a great hotel apart? A comfortable mattress? A clean room? Maybe a spiffy bathrobe or a fine restaurant? But above all - memorable service.
The Milwaukee Hilton City Center hotel has a new staff member that will make even the fussiest guest… paws.
Tuesday through Saturday hotel guests and visitors can meet Milwaukee's newest canine celebrity (and concierge): Millie. Millie is a mini golden doodle who works with her owner, Rusty Dahler, a human concierge.
"I knew that finding a dog for a hotel in a very specific job sort of demanded that you look for a specific kind of dog," says Dahler.
Having raised golden retrievers for most of his life, Dahler knew that a canine concierge would need to be a breed that could be easily trained -- and one that didn't shed. His search for the perfect dog led him to a mini golden doodle breeder in North Carolina. Dahler named Millie after her new home.
Some of Millie's duties include greeting hotel guests, providing a little stress-relief for employees, and entertaining the public on her very own Instagram.
The Hilton Milwaukee City Center management proposed the idea of a hotel dog, and its general manager, Mahesh Reddy, says that having Millie makes the Hilton a memorable place for everyone:
"We wanted to make sure that our guests felt at home at the Hilton Milwaukee. With people constantly on the move, traveling for business or pleasure, and missing their four-legged family members to pet and pamper we decided having a pet concierge was a perfect solution. Having Millie in the lobby, greeting our guests positively releases the stress of travel. Guests are welcome to pet, snuggle and play with her. She certainly makes their interaction a memorable experience. Our guest feedback since we have had Millie at the hotel has been phenomenal."
Millie's growing level of popularity has surprised Dahler.
"It's caught me a little off guard, because I was really not thinking that it would be that big of a deal!" he jokes.
Although having your dog at work is something many pet owners may envy, Dahler says that he and Millie are learning how to work together constantly.
"Everyday there's more to it. I've never done this before, we've never done this before...it's all a work in progress," notes Dahler. "But I know for me, she's changed the face of what the lobby is. People are endlessly coming over to the concierge desk now."
Although admittedly, he gets a little jealous when Millie is more excited to see other people in the hotel, Dahler knows how valuable her presence is to everyone.
"It is a hotel, but for some people it [has] given them that little touch of home, so to speak. It has an identity now, more than just this big hotel between 5th and 6th streets off of Wisconsin (Avenue)," he says. "It's even more meaningful to see other people enjoy her too. It's not just me with my dog. She's actually shared with hundreds of people."