REINTRODUCING LES CLEFS D’OR

“As we enter our 24th year as the Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand Hotel Concierge Society, I would like to take the time to reintroduce to you to what we do as members of this prestigious Society.

The Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand Concierge Society currently has 21 active members covering Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. We are a part of a worldwide organisation that consists of over 4000 members in over 80 countries covering 530 destinations. We are literally “in every corner of the world”. With roots starting back in 1929, the Society of the Golden Keys was officially founded in 1952 and has been growing ever since. Our New Zealand chapter was created in 1994 and each year we look at ways of improving and growing our Society and keeping up to date with modern trends.

For a long time, the “Hotel Concierge” was still relatively unknown too many New Zealanders and only international visitors would recognise the Golden Keys worn on our lapels. Nowadays the word Concierge is used in many different working environments from banks to petrol stations, all of which drew their inspiration from the hotel concierge, having somewhere there to assist you as soon as you make your way through the entrance. Now more people are aware of our role in the hotel and what we can do for them.  The Wes Anderson film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ also helped putting us in the spotlight – once guests see us wearing the keys it gets them talking.

So how do we as a small Society keep ourselves relevant in today’s ever-changing working environment? We have had to change the way we see ourselves and how others perceive us. We have had that stigma of being a secret Society; the old joke about the funny handshakes was often used. In the last 10 years, we have become more professional in our approach, our standards and membership process.

For anyone looking to become a professional concierge, we have a prospective member’s programme. This programme is designed to assist and mentor anyone looking to make concierge their profession and have aspirations of becoming a member of Les Clefs d’Or. They will be then be mentored by an active member and are given a chance to observe how we work as a Society. This then gives them the skills and confidence to become an active member once they’re eligible to apply.

In Auckland, where the majority of our members are based, we successfully created our own trade show called ‘Meet the Region’. This is free to attend for all local concierges and front office teams to attend and meet all our local tour operators and have the chance to build up their network and knowledge to assist them with their guest’s requests. Meet the Region is held at least once a year and is now a must do on our events calendar.

Along with regular meetings and network events, we are always striving to better ourselves and be on the pulse of the latest happenings in our cities and around the country.

All these changes, improvements and success still also wouldn’t be possible with the continued support and guidance from our key suppliers, industry peers and honorary members, many of whom now play an active part in the workings of our Society. Also, to our member hotels who support our membership and the Society, and from a personal view, I believe that this relationship is the best it has ever been.

As dedicated concierges we will continue to strive to achieve our goals both personally and for the betterment of the Society and in turn make sure that when our guests approach a Les Clefs d’Or Concierge they’re granted discretion, served with the utmost respect and that any question asked is answered, all requests are considered and then dealt with in a timely manner.”

Tim O’Hara

Head Concierge, QT Museum Wellington

Member Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand