Les Clefs d’Or Gather in Lisbon for International Congress

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LISBON, Portugal, January 27, 2010. Three hundred and thirty of the world’s top professional concierges from top hotels and resorts in 40 countries gathered in Lisbon, Portugal last week to focus on exceptional service, leadership and guest experience management at the 57th International Congress of Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels (UICH). No longer only the domain of the hotel lobby, the word “concierge” is now appearing across all industries as an individual, whole departments and even virtual functions and is now synonymous with service. Use of the word “concierge’ is explosive but substantive credentials to support this ultimate service role have been diminished and used inappropriately. The Lisbon meeting focused on how the Les Clefs d’Or concierge must constantly see out ways to reinforce and enhance their position as the original service role models and how to add value to their guests and properties as economic challenges continue worldwide. They also welcomed the United Arab Emirates as the 41st country accepted into the UICH.

President of U.I. C. H. Les Clefs d’Or President Robert Watson, Chef Concierge, The Willard, InterContinental Hotel and the Portugal organizing committee headed by Nuno Condeço, President of Les Clefs d’ Or Portugal and Assistant Head Concierge of the Lisbon Marriott Hotel assembled industry leaders to address these trends, challenges and opportunities for the concierge profession. Mark Conklin, Marriott Vice President Western Europe, presented “The Spirit to Serve” on leadership and vision and challenged the attendees to take a stronger role in standards of excellence. Carlos Fogaça, representing Lisbon Tourism, presented the Lisbon Experience which focused on how emotions make a powerful impact on each moment of contact in Lisbon and anywhere. Roberta Nedry, President of Hospitality Excellence, a Guest Experience management and guest service training firm introduced “3D Service — A New Dimension in Service “to address new approaches to meet the market’s frenzied demand for more personal service and value. Ms. Nedry’s program explored a multi-dimensional approach to training concierge teams and focused on new ways to surpass guest expectations and meet industry demand for exceptional guest experiences. She introduced ESP, Extra Service Perception as a tool to improve the procedural and personal sides of service.

From Left: Pictured discussing trends in guest service are Shujaat Khan, Chief Concierge, The Capital Hilton & Past President of Les Clefs d’Or; Roberta Nedry, President, Hospitality Excellence, and Roger Bastoni, Chef Concierge, Majestic Barriere, Cannes, & Past International President of Les Clefs d’Or

“The ability to deliver exceptional service does not automatically appear by simply adding the word concierge, “said Mr. Watson. “Les Clefs d’Or recognizes how critical it is to constantly and consistently integrate new service skills and perspective to meet and exceed guest expectations and our educational programming does that. Hotels that hire properly trained, professional concierges, who are constantly on top of guest satisfaction and loyalty trends will see significant impact to the bottom line and guest and customer satisfaction levels and reviews will soar.”

Les Clefs d’Or (pronounced “lay clay door”) is French and literally translates as ‘keys of gold”. Crossed gold keys displayed on hotel concierge lapels assure travelers they are dealing with a seasoned professional who is dedicated to serving their every need and who has fulfilled intense membership and service requirements.

Les Clefs d’Or professionals have a never-ending network of acquaintances, friends and colleagues from around the world to assist them in meeting and exceeding guest demands. Known for rolodexes worth millions, Les Clefs d’Or concierges are in the enviable position of being able to recommend destinations, businesses, companies, and/or products to thousands of business and leisure travelers throughout the world. Members of Les Clefs d’Or USA alone represent over 275,000 hotel rooms nightly at more than 250 primarily four-and five-star properties and UICH constitutes the only international association of professional hotel concierges with 3500 members around the globe.

Shujaat Khan