61st UICH International Congress Kuala Lumpur 2014
May 8, 2017
As the Andy Pongco Award winner 2014, I wanted to share with you my experience and joy of what it’s like to participate in your first ever international Les Clefs d’Or congress. Maybe this might help you decide to attend the Mendoza, Argentina congress?
You have a chance to travel abroad to visit an interesting country & experience another culture, along with representing the Great British section. This gives you a real sense that you are actively contributing to keeping this great profession alive and progressive by attending the congress. There’s a great anticipation of what’s going to happen at the congress and the opening ceremony.
The Boys are back in town……..The GB section arriving into KL
2) Spirit of Friendship
The biggest aspect of the congress is how people treat and respect each other as fellow concierges, you are meeting complete strangers but somehow everyone is accommodating, connected and networking at ease. Concierges from all around the world all under one roof no boundaries, introducing themselves to each other and exchanging business cards (an essential item at congress). The concierges from the host nation work v
3) Social Networking
Networking is crucial at congress: Building and forging relationships with concierges around the world allows us to have contacts to assist guests anywhere around the world, truly Clefs d’Or. Also, you get a chance to meet other concierges from you own hotel brand; in my case I met others from Marriott & Ritz Carlton hotels from Asia, Europe & the Americas. Wow!
Myself & other Marriott Les Clefs d’Or Members from around the round networking
Myself and the legend from San Francisco, Mr Wolf!
4) Educational & development of youth
What surprised me the most was how much the congress is aimed at evolving our profession through helping us share our insight. There are many Educational workshops that take place that leave us all very inspirational. We take those learning’s back to our desks!
The Andy Pongco award main aim is to recognise new emerging talent amongst concierges worldwide. This friendly competition helps new members want to participate in future congresses and perhaps helps in encouraging other young people in hospitality industry to perhaps aspire to be a concierge.
5) Cultural Discovery
Part of the action packed itinerary is to explore the host location, taste the flavours of the region and learn about the cultural heritage of the area. In our case, we visited a world heritage site, shopped till you drop and was treated to an many banquets which provided us with an array of different dishes. This allowed us members to network and socialise together, forging a stronger bond between professionals.
The GB section out-and-about discovering the area.
Going forward, the congress will always include a charitable element, which illustrates how we as concierge professionals care about our environment and duty to those less fortunate around us. In KL, we had the unique chance of taking a group from a local orphanage to a theme park and a chance to give back. Each section is encouraged to contribute in their own way, the GB section on this occasion worked with some of our own associate members to obtain donations for the orphanage. Toys and various gifts were brought over to demonstrate the giving nature of a concierge.
In the educational workshops, some members talked how they are starting to work with hospitality focused charities, for example in GB we have the charity Springboard that helps younger people from disadvantaged backgrounds gains professions and a skill in the hospitality industry.
Our members in GB already take part in the Hospitality Action bike rides & I for example competed in the London Marathon for a local charity. But we all could do more and the congress will promote this.
Whilst on congress, many members said to me that ‘you really understand the true spirit of the Les clefs d’Or until you have been on congress’!
I truly believe this statement now. Now it’s your chance.