“THE MEANING OF LES CLEFS D’OR”
“Les Clefs d’Or” (The Golden Keys): a name familiar to any national or international traveler accustomed to staying in the grand hotels in the world.
On arrival, the first smile a traveler sees, the first words of welcome they receive will be from a member of Les Clefs d’Or.
Throughout their stay, the person to guide, inform and advise them - and generally, to cater to their every need as a guest and traveler - will be the member of the staff wearing the badge of Les Clefs d’Or (crossed golden keys on each lapel).
Les Clefs d’Or associations worldwide are regrouped within the Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hôtels “Les Clefs d’Or” (UICH), formerly the Union Internationale des Portiers des Grands Hotels (UIPGH). Founded on October 6, 1929 by Ferdinand Gillet, the French association of Les Clefs d’Or was responsible for the creation of the European association in Cannes in 1952. The European association became the International association in 1970. Today, the national sections of 45 countries come under its umbrella, with a total of over 4000 members. The President of the International association currently is Colin Toomey from Australia.
The national sections are self-governing, their respective Presidents and committees elected every two years or each year, depending on the country. National members meet regularly and many countries publish their own newsletters. The international association communicates through a bilingual review published quarterly (10,000 copies) and international members gather at an international conference held in a different country each year. The association publishes its UICH List of Members worldwide biennially, a most invaluable publication featuring the names of all the concierges who are members of Les Clefs d’Or.
The aim of Les Clefs d’Or is to help improve and maintain the quality of service provided by concierge staff in their hotels and to ensure that this little-known profession is given the recognition it deserves. The association is at the disposal of its members for any help and guidance they may require. It is the very solidarity of its members that gives Les Clefs d’Or great power on an international scale and allows its members to accomplish the impossible for their hotel guests:
Service Through Friendship.
In fact it is the strategic position of Les Clefs d’Or concierges in hotels that places them at the receiving end of all sorts of problems and communications, thus enabling them to play predominant roles in the welcome and assistance of hotel guests.
While encouraging friendship and solidarity among its members, Les Clefs d’Or also teaches them to continually improve their professional abilities. It offers younger members the training opportunities at home and abroad, necessary to improve their skills and prepare them for their chosen careers.
Obviously, members must share ideals of quality of service and professional ability if they are to live up to the high standards of the organization. For instance, a member of Les Clefs d’Or is expected to be presentable, courteous, helpful, experienced, conversant in several languages, and have solid, tourist-based knowledge. Knowing how to advise clientele as well as be its privileged listener and having the ability to cooperate and work alongside management for the benefits of the hotel guests are necessary tools of the profession.
Les Clefs d’Or symbolizes welcome smiles, dedication, and professionalism…and plays an important role in the total success of international travel.