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South African Guest Relations/Concierge Conference held this month
TThe annual conference is the brainchild of the Joburg Concierge Forum, which was founded in 2010 for guest relations managers and concierges from 4- and 5-star hotels in Johannesburg and surrounding areas. The platform allows concierges to share ideas and keep up to date with the latest industry trends.
The main message during the conference was that globally travellers seek unrivalled experiences no matter what the nature of their visit, and concierges and guest relations personnel have a critical role to play in the hotel and tourism industry.
Conference organiser Deon Prinsloo, head concierge at the Palazzo Hotel at Montecasino, said: “The success of the conference … would not have been possible without the sponsors, Moyo and South African Tourism, as well as exhibitors, delegates and speakers who took time out of their busy schedules to share their expertise and insights about the industry.
“We aim to continuously work together to achieve the highest level of guest service experience, which results in return business [and], at the same, promotes South Africa as a leading tourism destination,” says Prinsloo.
The conference also serves as a platform for exhibitors and service providers to showcase their offerings to concierges who are then able to advise their guests where to go and what to do when in South Africa.
The keynote speaker in Durban was Graham Wood, former managing director of Tsogo Sun and Sun International.
“Concierges need to embrace technology in what they do; guests seek an experience and [concierges’] knowledge of their area will assist in creating this experience,” said Wood.
“Concierges’ roles remain critical to the hotel business as they provide guests with the first and last impression of the hotel,” said John van Rooyen, director of operations at Tsogo Sun in the Western and Eastern Cape. He emphasised the importance of understanding guests, their reason for travelling and their special needs.
In his opening address at the Johannesburg conference, Southern African Tourism Services Association chief executive officer, David Frost pointed out that tourism contributed nearly 10% to the South African gross domestic product in 2014. While unemployment is high, one in seven South Africans are able to feed their families thanks to tourism, he said.
For more information contact Deon Prinsloo via email on Deon.Prinsloo@tsogosun.com or telephone +27 (0) 11 510 3734.