November 24, 2016
According to the recent Deloitte Travel and Hospitality industry outlook the shape of the industry is constantly changing with Millennials stepping in as the main drivers of change. More and more people are looking for authentic travel experiences, personalized approach to their needs and the luxury of traveling carefree. This is when personal travel concierge services step in.
A personal concierge does any tasks that their clients are too busy to get done themselves. A concierge will do anything as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical. Just 15 years ago, personal concierges were gatekeepers and the service was affordable purely for VIP persons and the extremely wealthy. Nowadays travel and hospitality industry is changing and everyone from business executives and single parents to dual-income families and those relocating for a new job often feel time-strapped and are willing to pay for concierge services thus outsourcing time-consuming things.
In general, personal concierges’ clients are those who have more money than time and value time more than money. With commutes becoming longer and working days becoming more crammed with different issues, more people need a hand with their personal matters. But not only individuals turn to personal concierges for help, Top Fortune 500 companies also introduced concierge services to their perks packages in order to take day-to-day issues off their team members shoulders.
Ben Malpass, an honorable member of the prestigious Les Clefs D’or, shared insights about the industry of personal concierge services based on his more than 20 years’ experience as a top hotel concierge. Ben started off as Page Boy at the Hilton Sydney back in 1994 and today he is Head Concierge at the Hari, London. During his life, Ben has also been Head Concierge at such exclusive hotels as the Savoy and the Cavendish Hotel in London, UK.
As a personal concierge, you’ll never have the same working day facing all sorts of issues to be seen to, from doing personal shopping and planning dinner parties to buying gifts and handling any mini-emergencies. Since every client has his or her own unique list of things to do, the types of services are very varied and diverse.
Ben named such challenging tasks he has managed as buying tickets for sold out shows and events, arranging for a cinema to play a 1990’s action movie at 4 am, saving a few marriages, sourcing a Roman legionnaire’s helmet and sending it to the Caymans so that a guest could have it in his office, and arranging for a driver to take a guest from London to Stockholm. The list goes on.
The professional concierge industry has changed enormously in the recent 20 years. The boom of the Internet and the Google Age means that guests are much more informed and knowledgeable about their destination. That is why concierges today need to have special concierge skills be much more in tune with their cities to ensure that their guests are satisfied.
“A good concierge can never be replaced by a computer, as we are friends, confidants, advisers and ambassadors to our guests”, Ben commented.
At the same time, with the Internet being crammed with loads of unnecessary information, well traveled guests tend to rely on personal concierges like never before to ensure they reach their travel goals and save time for things that matter.
The rise of the Internet has not only left world travelers with a pool of information but also different P2P platforms and marketplaces as AirBnB and Uber. According to Ben’s experience, AirBnB impact in London is hard to judge, as the luxury market remains strong and continues to grow year on year. Concierge industry in London has been affected hugely by the rise of Uber as many guests prefer to book their own cars rather than book a limousine through their Concierge.
“I personally feel Uber provides a convenient and cheaper alternative to limousines and licensed cabs, but that is where the advantage ends. Getting around London effectively and quickly requires substantial knowledge of the thousands of lanes and back roads. Uber drivers do not have this knowledge and rely on the GPS which doesn’t work here”, Ben added.
Even though we all have our own pace, budget and goals when we travel, personal concierges is a useful and stressless solution to manage our time and money properly to make sure we enjoy every moment of our trip, our life.