The 5th annual Concierge Conference round-up

  • 30 September 2014
The 5th annual Concierge Conference took place in Johannesburg on 17 September 2014 © South African Tourism

The recent 5th annual Concierge Conference, which took place in Johannesburg on 17 September 2014, brought together approximately 100 Concierges from leading accommodation establishments across South Africa.

The organiser of the annual conference, Deon Prinsloo, is the head concierge at The Palazzo Montecasino Hotel in Fourways, Johannesburg. Ahead of the conference, he spoke of the importance of the conference for concierges and the travel industry at large.

'There are few people in the industry who understand the scope of what traveller need, and how to cater to these needs. Our goal is to keep our guests entertained and happy, which in turn could mean an extended holiday or a return trip, which is really our ultimate goal,' he said.

Prinsloo is one of a few South African holders of the elite Les Clef d'Or title, an international symbol of experience and commitment to service excellence.

The Concierge Conference is an opportunity for concierges to develop their skills and exchange knowledge and insights. It also gives them a great opportunity and platform to drive conversations around what constitutes service excellence.

'Conferences such as these bring both the products and industry insights to those who need them most, thus ensuring that we remain on the cutting edge of hospitality for local and international travellers,' said Prinsloo.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Welcome’, and as part of the ongoing ‘Welcome’ initiative, South African Tourism lent its support to the conference.

The ‘Welcome’ initiative is South African Tourism’s way of building a culture of excellent customer service in South Africa, by creating and sustaining engagement among key industry stakeholders.

The keynote address was delivered by Thuli Sithole, former Miss South Africa and owner of niche concierge company, Uthukon Concierge. She spoke on what ‘Welcome’ means to guests around the world.

Delegates also received a Welcome toolkit, a resource made available by South African Tourism to the travel trade that gives insights on how best to manage expectations of tourists from all over the world.

Through the conference, Prinsloo also hopes to uplift the service industry in South Africa and assist those who cannot afford formal concierge training.