The Golden Key To Success

  27.09.2023 Business, Events, Gstaad Saanenland Tourism, Conference, Hôtellerie, Luxury, Behind the Scenes, Business, Lifestyle

In the realm of luxury hospitality, there exists a hidden key, often overlooked by the casual observer but cherished by those in the know. It's not made of gold, nor is it adorned with jewels, yet it holds the power to unlock a world of unparalleled experiences for discerning travellers. This unassuming but essential element is the dedicated service of hotel concierges, the custodians of the 5-star experience.

In the picturesque alpine haven of Gstaad, this crucial service takes centre stage as the prestigious Les Clefs d'Or (The Golden Keys) Congress gathers. While many may take their efforts for granted, these adept concierges play an indispensable role in curating the unforgettable moments that transform a mere stay into a lifelong memory. As GstaadLife offers you a small peak into the heart of this exclusive event, we unveil the intricate artistry behind their profession and explore how their unwavering commitment to excellence in service not only elevates the guest experience but also fosters unwavering loyalty. Join us on a journey into the world of Les Clefs d'Or, where every interaction is a golden opportunity to create magic for the discerning traveller.

The 33rd Congress of the Swiss Clefs d'Or, the international professional association of hotel concierges, recently made its debut in the charming setting of Gstaad, and it concluded on a high note. Out of the 110 active Swiss members of this prestigious association, 50 participated in the event.

From the very start, as the congress kicked off with an opening dinner at the esteemed Hotel Olden, the atmosphere was convivial and engaging. The event was graced by the presence of board members, with Luc Frieseisen at the helm, as well as the active Gstaad members. Also in attendance were the presidents of the international hotel concierges’ professional associations from France, England, and Ireland, who held an area meeting at Le Grand Bellevue in the afternoon. This gathering, which hadn't taken place in the region since 2019, fostered open dialogues aimed at strengthening inter-territorial relationships, defining tangible goals, and, notably, kindling the interest of young individuals in pursuing a career in the hotel concierge profession while ensuring its sustainability.

The following day, the general assembly convened at the Hotel Alpina and revolved around the activities and achievements of the past year. The association's partners are showing a growing interest and commitment, with a record number of supporters attending this year's congress. Furthermore, eight new members were welcomed into the association after meeting the stringent national regulations that mandate a minimum of three years in concierge service. The board was unanimously renewed for two years, with Luc Frieseisen continuing to lead as the president. The afternoon was dedicated to fruitful exchanges with international partners, followed by a delightful carriage ride around Lake Lauenen in the radiant sunshine.

The gala dinner, hosted at the illustrious Gstaad Palace, was a resounding success, with 120 attendees. Andrea Scherz, as General Manager and owner of Gstaad Palace, addressed the gathering and underscored the paramount role that Clefs d'Or plays within a hotel. “As concierges, you are, indeed, the linchpin that connects guests to an exceptional experience, ensuring they return to the hotel repeatedly over the years.”

Then Flurin Ruedi, the director of Gstaad Saanenland Tourist Office, took the floor and emphasised that Gstaad stands as one of Switzerland's last authentic destinations, with its unique chalets, Alpine culture, traditions, and grandiose landscapes, is one of the last authentic destinations in Switzerland. Moreover, Gstaad is a place of tranquillity, he said, which was echoed by Yehudi Menuhin long ago. Numerous activities and events are available to customers throughout the year.

The congress concluded with a delightful brunch at the Vieux Chalet, formerly owned by Gunter Sachs, which the participants had the privilege to explore.

Anticipating the next congress in 2024, to be hosted in Lausanne, this year's event in Gstaad showcased the significance of the Clefs d'Or association in the 5-star hotel segment and its ongoing commitment to excellence in the hospitality industry.

OLIVIER DESBOIS | Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad


Les Clefs d'Or, which translates to "The Golden Keys," stands as a prestigious professional association for hotel concierges, boasting a membership of approximately 4,000 individuals spanning over 80 countries and encompassing 530 diverse destinations across the globe. Recognizable by the distinctive golden crossed keys adorning their lapels, these members comprise an exclusive fraternity. They are united on a global scale, devoted to continuous professional growth, and unwavering in their pursuit of setting new benchmarks for impeccable guest service.

The origins of Les Clefs d'Or trace back to 1929, and the association was officially established in France in 1952 as a non-profit organization built upon two fundamental principles: Service and Friendship. Prior to earning the privilege of wearing these coveted golden keys, individuals aspiring to become members must amass several years of experience as hotel concierges, successfully navigate rigorous examinations, and unequivocally demonstrate their capacity to deliver the utmost in service quality.

Each year, Les Clefs d'Or members extend their expertise to over 100 million guests, fulfilling an array of requests that span from the commonplace to the extraordinary. As lifelong professional hotel concierges, their extensive experience, profound knowledge, and robust network of professional connections position them as the most dependable local experts and ambassadors for their designated destinations.

With every member granted access to the expansive Les Clefs d'Or global network, frequently convening face-to-face at annual international congresses, there exists no territory they cannot reach or guest request they cannot fulfil. When it comes to familiarity with the world, none surpasses Les Clefs d'Or. Whether it be in Berlin or New York City, Paris or Tokyo, or any location in between, Les Clefs d'Or concierges steadfastly uphold their commitment to providing nothing less than service that inspires.

(photos by Andreea Avram)

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