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technology butler

noun [countable]

a member of staff in a hotel whose job is specifically to perform technical tasks and help guests with computer-related problems

'Wired travelers can ring for the Technology Butler, now on-call at The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix to solve their computer and technological problems. Guests may reach the technology butlers for complimentary assistance without the inconvenience of leaving their guestroom.'

Press Release – Ritz-Carlton Phoenix 2002

In the 21st century, the remit of hotel room service has extended beyond fresh towels and breakfast in bed. Now guests in many high-class hotels in Europe, Asia and America can also rely on the services of a technology butler to attend to their technical and computer-related needs.

a technology butler is trained to handle problems relating to laptop computers and telecommunications

A technology butler is a designated staff member who is on call 24 hours a day and trained to handle a variety of problems relating to laptop computers and telecommunications. Typical tasks include help with access to the Internet or personal e-mail, voltage and phone point conversion, international use of mobile phones, and organising conference calls. In the same way that the maid service fluffs up pillows and cleans around the bathroom, identifying a local ISP or helping a guest find a local dial-up number is all in a day's work for these new cyber butlers!

A lexical variant of technology butler is the countable noun compcierge, also the trademark of Compcierge™ USA, a company based in Washington D.C. that provides IT services for the travel and hotel industry.

Background – technology butler

The term technology butler has been coined by analogy with similar terms deriving from a variety of rather gimmicky additions to the usual range of services offered by luxury hotels. These include a bow-wow butler, who is assigned to cater for the needs of canine guests, and a bath butler, who will run a bath to your desired temperature, offer a bath butler menu, where you can choose from a range of bath treatments, and bring food and drink on request during your soak.

The alternative form compcierge is of course a play on the word concierge, which refers to a hotel employee who assists guests by delivering messages and making reservations for travel, theatres, restaurants, etc and which, since the late 1990s has also referred to someone employed by a company to run personal and domestic errands for fellow employees. Concierge is a French word dating from the 16th century and based on the Latin term conservus, which literally means 'fellow slave'.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 21st May 2004.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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