The 9th Annual South African Annual Concierge Conference 2018 kicked off in September during tourism month in Durban ending on a high note with the Johannesburg/Pretoria conference on 17 October at the Sandton Sun Hotel.
Aptly themed: “How to improve guest experiences on a continuous basis” – delegates at the Johannesburg/Pretoria Conference were inspired by Andrew Hoskings, Tsogo Sun: Operations Director for the Central Northern Region, a passionate hotelier himself. “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 Hoskings.
Furthermore, he pointed out that it is the minor touches to service that make a difference – paying attention and listening to guests goes a long way. Although he concurs that technology has become a huge part of the hospitality industry, he said technology cannot replace human touch. “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.
SA Concierge Conference organiser Deon Prinsloo, Head Concierge and Guest Relations Manager at The Palazzo Hotel said 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’. Prinsloo said Concierges and Guest relations needed to identify areas where they can improve customer delight through gathering feedback and conducting surveys, these ultimately present opportunities as well.
“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.” Prinsloo added that creating customer delight required consistency and continuous learning and thanked guests wishing them well until 2019 when they will get another chance to share and network with peers.
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.