*Pictured are, from left to right – Ryno Dippenaar (The Cape Sun – Cape Town), Lizelle Koster (Intercontinentel – Sandton), Deon Prinsloo (Palazzo Hotel – Fourways), Masood Sadulla (Saxon Boutique Hotel Villas & Spa) and Nardus Buys (12 Apostles Hotel – Cape Town)

Concierges are the champions of creating guest experiences and memories, which often lead to guests’ return and recommendation of the properties they visited. Palazzo Hotel concierge Deon Prinsloo recognised the importance of creating a platform for concierges to stay up-to-date with the industry, and organised the SA Annual Concierge Conference, which is now in its 9th year.

“The hospitality industry is driven by emotion, as such, concierges and guest relations staff would do well to understand that, and harness the power to connect with guests on an emotional level to ensure they leave with lasting memories,” said Andrew Hoskings, Tsogo Sun: Operations Director for the Central Northern Region, who addressed the delegates on the theme of How to Improve Guest Experiences on a Continuous Basis.

“We need to embrace what is coming to us in future – it is sadly not technology that will enhance service experience, emotions can only be created by humans and not robots. As Concierges and Guest Relations staff, it is critically important to embrace the power you have to connect with guests regardless of what new tools are introduced to the industry – keep up with what’s going on, remain relevant and continue to create memorable experiences for all your guests,” he added.

At the conference, organiser Deon Prinsloo said that in order to improve guest experiences on a continuous basis, Concierges and Guest relations need to constantly repeat the good work they are already doing, so as to create that lasting experience or ‘customer delight’. They also needed to identify areas of improvement through gathering feedback and conducting surveys. However, he also warned that “Gathering the information is useless if no implementation takes place, so implementing solutions is key to achieving the third stage, which is measuring against goals what it is you are trying to achieve.”

Kagisho Ditira, conference organiser and Guest relations at The Palazzo Hotel thanked all delegates and exhibitors for their contribution, in particular to Laurice Taitz-Buntman for designing the South African Concierge Forum logo which was unveiled at the conference and Brett Parker from Jewel Africa for making the badges bearing the logo and was presented to Concierges and Guest relations managers as well as select supporters of the SA Concierge Forum.

2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the SA Concierge Conferences with dates as follows: 11 September at The Elangeni Hotel in Durban, 18 September at Beluga in Cape Town, 25 September at The Kurland Hotel in the Garden Route and 3 October at The Saxon Hotel in Sandhurst Johannesburg.  The conferences are free of charge and open to Concierges, Guest relations and those in the hospitality industry, however, booking is essential. To contribute towards the 10th anniversary celebrations please contact Deon Prinsloo at deon.prinsloo@tsogosun.com or contact +27 (0) 11 510 3734.