Home' Hotel Management : HM AUGUST 2016 Contents Peter McBrearty,
Les Clefs d'Or
It's been quite a busy few months for both
our Australian and Kiwi Les Clefs d'Or
members, commencing early in June with the
New Zealand les Clefs d'Or AGM, held at
the Hilton Queenstown on the shores of Lake
Wakatipu, attended by UICH President Colin
Toomey, myself and our Treasurer Ben Davies.
Queenstown is a stunning location at the best
of times, and in between the AGM meetings
and "Meet The Region" trade show (where we
were given the opportunity to meet regional
tourism operators) we greatly enjoyed the
pristine alpine environment.
The Australian AGM this year was then
held in Brisbane early in July, hosted at The
Emporium Hotel by General Manager (and
Les Clefs d'Or Honorary Member) Mr Peter
Savoff. A particularly enjoyable moment
during the AGM was the opportunity for us
to welcome a large number of new members,
including our most recent (and 55th) member,
Luis Barra of Crown Towers in Melbourne.
Being an election year we also emerged
from the AGM with some new office bearers
in place, including David Luff of The Four
Seasons Sydney as our new Secretary, and
with the exception of Scott Hulme (Hilton
Perth) in WA, a completely new suite of
State Directors. We are very happy welcome
Adam Forth (Stamford Plaza Adelaide) in
South Australia, Nik Adams (Stamford Plaza
Melbourne) in Victoria, Mark Anderson
(Park Hyatt Sydney), and Graham Hodgson
(Emporium Hotel Brisbane) in Queensland,
and as our primary points of contacts with
local government and tourism bodies and
industry service providers, our State Directors
are unlikely to find themselves with much in
the way of spare time.
After the AGM, we adjourned to the Sofitel
Brisbane Central, where General Manager Mr
Hayden Hughes and his Chief Concierge (and
Ball MC) Pericles Yiannakis not only brought
the Concierge and Hospitality Ball back to
Brisbane after a lengthy absence, but did so
in style. Given the success of the Brisbane
Ball and the ongoing hotel development in
the area, perhaps it wasn't too surprising to
overhear one or two of our Melbourne and
Sydney members mention they thought a
move to the Northern regions could be a very
appealing prospect - but at the very least,
always assuming the Sofitel will have us back
again, many of us will certainly be more than
happy to return for the 2017 Ball!
Meanwhile though, we have a number of
upcoming events on the calendar to keep us
busy, including the Sydney Tourism Expo at
David Jones on September 7th, The Sydney
Concierge and Hospitality Ball at The Hilton
Sydney on October 31st, and finally, The
Melbourne Concierge and Hospitality Ball at
Crown Towers on November 20th
Peter McBrearty is President of Les Clefs
d'Or Australia and Chief Concierge at The
With the recent election of
Concierge Ben Thomas as a
member of Les Clefs d'Or,
Hilton Sydney is now one of
just four hotels across Australasia with three or
more members on property.
Thomas is one in 52 concierges in Australia
to wear the prestigious crossed gold keys
badge pinned to his lapels and Hilton Sydney
General Manager, Ronald van Weezel, said the
hotel was proud to have him accepted into Les
"Hilton Sydney is proud to have three
Les Clefs d'Or members united on property,"
he said. "This accolade emphasises our
determination to deliver the highest possible
standard in service throughout the hotel."
Thomas said he was thrilled to have been
accepted into Les Clefs d'Or.
"It is an absolute honour being part of the
prestigious Les Clefs d'Or association," he said.
"It is proof of my passion and enthusiasm in
making our guests happy every day.
"Becoming a Les Clefs d'Or member at
a luxurious and globally renowned hotel was
always my dream and with the support of
fellow concierges and Les Clefs d'Or members
at the Hilton Sydney, we can help make the
Thomas says he initially developed his
passion for the hospitality and tourism
industry toward when he finished high school
in 2005, after which he began studying
at The Hotel School in Sydney. His first
exposure to the Concierge department
was in 2006 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel
in Parramatta, where he began a 3-year
placement as a casual Porter during his
studies. After the completion of his university
degree, he says he "decided it was time for
change of scenery" and moved to Hilton
Sydney as a full time porter in early 2009.
Thomas' current Chief Concierge, Jason
Aberin, joined shortly after and within a short
period had promoted Ben as a Bell Captain.
By late 2010, Thomas says he decided
to travel while he was still young and spent
the following 15 months travelling through
Europe and North America. During this time
he continued his enjoyment for the Concierge
role by working for nine months in a small
downtown hotel in Vancouver, Canada.
On his return to the harbour city, Hilton
Sydney Assistant Chief Concierge, Nathan
Brown, contacted Thomas with the request for
him to re-join the hotel as a Bell Captain.
This time was when Thomas says he "realised
his true passion for Concierge" and took a much
more involved interest in Les Clefs d'Or and
started joining the team for many different
industry events. Seeing his potential and
enthusiasm, Aberin quickly helped with Thomas'
career development which saw him land a full
time Concierge position in mid-2012.
Thomas says the role of a concierge "is
essential to any guest staying at a luxury
hotel, whether that be a smiling, friendly and
approachable face in the lobby, a local area
guide, restaurant connoisseur or a last minute
life saver", something everyone in the industry
agrees on. n
Meet Hilton Sydney's Concierge BEN THOMAS, the third and latest
member of the hotel's concierge team accepted into Les Clefs d'Or.
Hilton Sydney's latest
Les Clefs d'Or star
50 HM The Business of Accommodation
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