Concierges should embrace social media, but not allow it to take over from the human contact with guests, the 59th International Congress of Les Clefs d'Or heard in London this week.
"You have to be careful that social media does not result in the concierge being bypassed," Robert Gaymer-Jones, chief executive of Sofitel Worldwide, told the 600 delegates from more than 40 countries who had gathered in London for the five-day congress of the concierges.
"There are a lot of people on the internet giving recommendations, but it lacks the authenticity and reliability that a concierge can provide. A concierge needs to be aware of the buzz in the city in which they work and correct what is being said via social media."
Gaymer-Jones added that social media was a great means of sharing stories and advised concierges to respond swiftly - within 24 hours - to requests from guests via Facebook or Twitter.
Simon Scoot, vice-president, global brand management, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts (IHG) said the passion that concierges had for their locality was of vital importance in promoting a destination via social media.
"At IHG we have enlisted concierges to develop the content of destination videos which have now been seen by six million people on YouTube - something which is enormously valuable to our brand," he said.
The discussion on social media was one of several educational elements to the congress, which culminated in a gala dinner at Grosvenor House last night attended by the Duke of Gloucester. Paul Still, head concierge at the London Hilton on Park Lane formally took over from Ron Crowdy, head night porter at Imperial London Hotels, at the dinner as the president of the Society of Golden Keys of Great Britain, a founder member of the Les Clefs d'Or, which today represents more than 3,000 concierges worldwide.
The 60th International Congress of Les Clefs d'Or will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand, in April 2013.
By Janet Harmer
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