(image credit: Aya Fulton)
What Is a Concierge?
A concierge is a caretaker or assistant who helps people with different tasks. Common tasks concierges perform include:
- Booking, changing, and cancelling reservations for you
- Dealing with customer service on your behalf
- Hotel and flight bookings
- Spa and massage appointments
- Recommendations for gifts, restaurants, and nightlife
- Online research
The Legacy of the Concierge
As one of the oldest occupations, the modern concierge can trace his or her proud profession all the way back to the earliest roots of human civilization.
The actual word “concierge” first appeared in France during the Middle Ages from Comte des Cierges, which means “Keeper of the Candles,” a job that required having keys to all the rooms of the castle and the inherent trust of the king.
Literary references to “concierge” from 1800s to 2008. (Google Trends)
When European castles became hotels in the 1900s, the concierge role remained but their clients went from royal families to hotel guests. Around the mid-20th century, the European concierge found it’s way to the United States by way of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, thanks to the first American Concierge, Tom Wolfe who had trained in Europe.
Since then, concierges expanded into other hotels, hospitals, cruise ships, credit card companies, luxury car companies, and more.
The Future of the Concierge
The explosion of mobile communication in the 21st century allowed for new forms of concierge services. These services go outside the confines of physical locations and timezones and aim to help clients with anything, any place, any time. Mobile interfaces have made submitting requests as easy as texting or clicking through an app.
Many concierge services are using the growing power of artificial intelligence to help improve the cost margins and scalability of their services. Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of software-only approaches that are great for scaling, knowledge-only requests. They are far from a full concierge service but they could easily become a request input source. Eventually, the cost of concierge services will be reduced or paid through by ads or commission such that the concierge lifestyle will be available to all and not just high-net worth individuals.
- Handle all travel and lodging
- 24/7 lead generation
- Build out extremely customizable sales funnels
- Transcribe video to blogs and tweets
- Editing and uploading video
- Manage and respond to social media 24/7
- Internet research scaled as needed
- Synthesis of information
- Rapidly increase customer touch points
Small Business Owners
- Managing and paying various vendors
- Handle couriers and delivery logistics
- Instantly scale labor as needed
- Arrange meetings with investors
- Help secure funding via brute force targeted email pitching
- Near effortless meal plan set up
- Follow up with new Linkedin contacts
- Book venues for memorable networking events
- Gift, restaurant, event recommendations
- Finding and delivering hard to find items
Concierge Services by Name
Magic — All-in-one, technology and accessibility focused
- Based in San Francisco, viral launch in 2015.
- Relentless task fulfillment, as long as it is legal.
- 24/7, on-demand, concierge service.
- No app necessary, communicate via text
- Delivered a motorcycle to Burning Man in under 24 hours
- Arranged access to the Black Jaguar-White Tiger event
- Helped raise 6 million dollars for an entrepreneur
- Organized a hang-out with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
- Bought and delivered a Lamborghini to an airport arrivals area while the client was still in the air
Knightsbridge Circle — Luxury arrangements, personal networks and relationships focused
- Based in UK, established in 2002.
- Arranged a private dinner for guests before Leonardo DaVinci’s ‘The Last Supper,’ at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
- Private ritual conducted by monks at the Grand Temple in Bangkok
- An ultimate weekend in a Beverly Hills sprawling estate that included dinner prepared by the acclaimed chef, Daniel Boulud,entertainment by Jennifer Lopez, and a late-night DJ session performed by Avicii.
Other Concierge Services:
- Zirtual — Las Vegas, Nevada — Founded Jan 11, 2011
- Time Etc — Birmingham, Birmingham based — Founded July 1, 2007 — US/UK based VAs
- Fancy Hands — NYC, NY — Founded April 1, 2010
- Red Butler — Beverly Hills, CA — Founded December 5, 2006
- Quintessentially — UK based
- John Paul Group — UK based
- Chillax Concierge — SF based
How Not to Use a Concierge
Concierges are not the best solution for all tasks. Concierges are generalists and not sources of expert information, though they can find and book appointments with those that are.
- Getting legal, medical, or other expert advice
- If you think you can do something faster and speed is important
- In-person physical tasks, aren’t possible with virtual concierges
Some concierge services are included in the cost of the exclusive membership or hotel stay, others range from yearly rates to hourly pricing models. Some concierge services require time or usage contracts while others are pay as you go.