Modeled after Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hôtels (Les Clefs d’Or International)—the international professional organization of hotel concierges—and Les Clefs d’Or USA—its U.S. chapter—the New Orleans Concierge Association was established on March 21, 1984 as a Louisiana not-for-profit corporation. Although the New Orleans Concierge Association is not the sole organization to attempt to represent the hotel concierge community in and around New Orleans, it is the only one to have had the longevity to become the pre-eminent professional organization serving the needs of area concierges.
The concierge profession has its origins in the Middle Ages, when the concierge was a trusted member of the royal staff charged with holding and protecting the keys to the palace. It wasn’t until the 1800s, however, that the concierge became an accepted, permanent component of hotel guest services, as burgeoning ship and rail travel created a growing need for upscale hotels and travel assistance. With a reputation for wisdom when making travel arrangements and information on how to obtain tickets to sold-out performances, as well as an ability to secure last-minute reservations to the best restaurants in town, the concierge quickly became a much-in-demand expert at the world’s better hotels.
Notwithstanding the profession’s long history, concierges only began to become prevalent in modern U.S. hotels during the mid to late 1970s. At the time, few (if any) professional organizations had been established in the United States to serve this growing community. Recognizing a need, a committee of concierges from San Francisco headed by Tom Wolfe petitioned Les Clefs d’Or International in 1977 to establish a U.S. chapter.
The resulting organization, Les Clefs d’Or USA, committed itself by the mid-1980s to host an international meeting of concierges in Washington, DC in 1987. Given the immensity of this endeavor, concierges throughout the United States found themselves needing to organize to better support this expanding national organization. This planning meeting was held in 1985 in New Orleans! New Orleans has hosted two additional Les Clefs d’Or USA meetings in 2005 and again in 2015.
The New Orleans Concierge Association has a history as rich as the city that we are established in. We are and have been proud ambassadors of our city for over 33 years.