Time is our most precious resource. When you’re always connected and, on the go,, your time is the one thing you can never get back. To help you save time and get privileged access to private events that money can’t buy; a luxury concierge is your perfect companion. Built from the desire for experiences over ownership, modern concierge companies are radically evolving to deliver, exceptional services 24/7 to their affluent clients.
The word concierge derives from the old French word “comte des cierges.” The comte des cierges referred to a servant responsible for maintaining the lighting and cleanliness of medieval palaces. Eventually, the name “concierge” came to stand for “keeper of the keys” at public buildings, particularly hotels. Nowadays the concierge is much closer to a luxury lifestyle manager, seeing that travelers and hotel guests get the absolute most out of their stay. Concierges are highly skilled people who can add real value to your life by taking care of some essential and time-consuming tasks for you. They also have an extensive network to help you get VIP access to some of the most ultra-exclusive events and experiences around the world.
Personal Wealth grew 12% in 2017, hitting a new record of $201.9 trillion USD’s. Millionaires and Billionaires accounted for almost half of that wealth, according to the Boston Consulting Group. With all that money, the competition among luxury concierge companies for leisure dollars has boomed. The luxury concierge business is indulgence and is defined by providing their customers with Instagram-ready moments created by their personal lifestyle management team.
While services like AirBnB and SkyScanner might be the sites of choice for your everyday consumer looking to book a holiday, luxury concierge companies assist their clients in recommending and planning opulent vacations defined by elite one-of-a-kind experiences. From private jets, to luxury villa rentals and super yachts, to even off-market hotel suites meant for high-rollers, these luxury concierge services offer the proverbial backstage pass to those who boldly embody the statement that money truly is no object.
While there are a number of apps vying for the attention of high-end travellers, luxury concierge services are in a different class altogether, often requiring a five-figure annual sum for membership alone. At this elite level, the focus is on highly personalized communication, and even custom-built apps, as opposed to mass-market solutions.
Possibly the best-known luxury concierge in the world, ‘Quintessentially’ was set up in 2000, and now has offices in 63 cities globally and 33 sister companies that provide an intricate network of access to the world’s most exclusive brands and experiences. The brainchild of Ben Elliot, Paul Drummond and Aaron Simpson, the company’s expert fixers have fulfilled a plethora of extravagant requests over the years, from closing the Sydney Harbour Bridge for a proposal, to arranging dinner on an iceberg. It’s no surprise that the client list sways towards the A-list, with the average net worth of Quintessentially clientele ranging from £5-50 million. Along with its less expensive rival, Velocity Black, the company promises all the spontaneity and bragworthy experiences any One-Percenter could want.
“It’s fun to say, ‘Oh yeah, we had dinner on an iceberg and a cocktail party at the Great Pyramids,’ said William Reedy, Quintessentially’s head of U.S. concierge servicing and a former lifestyle manager himself. “It’s not cool just because it was really expensive, but because it was something no one had thought you could do.”
“When this company started, the idea was that there will be a magical phone number that could do anything for you,” said Robbie Guevarra, the company’s U.S. marketing manager. “If you knew the number, you were in the club. And if you didn’t, you weren’t.”
Today, your membership comes with not only that phone number but the email address of at least one lifestyle manager in a major city. From there, Guevarra said, “We fulfill anything that’s legal. We basically do anything and everything under the sun.” The winner of some of the world’s most prestigious travel and concierge awards such as Conde Nast’s Best Concierge Company, the Leading Hotels of the World’s Top Producing Agent and World Travel Awards’ Europe’s Leading Luxury Lifestyle Club, Quintessentially is no stranger to the so-called cream of the crop.
Velocity Black is another force in the luxury concierge market, but its audience is younger—with an average age of 34 and a lower net worth, around $7 million. Velocity charges quite a bit less than Quintessentially, $2,800 a year with a $900 initiation fee. Founder Zia Yusuf, 32, said he’s trying to provide members something that’s usually elusive: spontaneity. Yusuf also places an emphasis on technology, saying that 40 percent of Velocity Black members open their app every day.
Some of the experiences Velocity Black connects members with are pretty wild. They include swimming with blue whales in Sri Lanka, flying a jet to the edge of space, or even a trip to the wreckage of the Titanic.
“We don’t just wait for you to tell us what you want,” he said. “We aspire to something greater, which is showing you things you didn’t even know you wanted.” With that in mind, part of Velocity Black’s perks is the use of the LAX Private Suite (because you know, 2200 steps from the car to the plane is simply too much).
The Private Suite is a newly-built private terminal — a new gate into LAX that’s far from the traffic surrounding the airport. Members of The Private Suite don’t wait in crowded lines because private TSA screening is done right in the building. Members don’t walk down long crowded concourses or line up at ticket counters and boarding gates. They don’t deal with baggage.
And best of all, they don’t deal with paparazzi.
Members spend their pre-flight time in totally private suites, each with its own bathroom, its own food-service pantry, a two-person daybed, and a runway view of aircraft landing and taking off. When it’s time to board, Private Suite members are driven across the tarmac, Head-of-State style, directly to their aircraft in one of the company’s fleet of BMW 7 Series Sedan’s.
A growing economy in the hands of tech-savvy millennials, over-saturated with information at the touch of their smartphones and a lust for travel and individual experiences, are creating a niche in the luxury travel industry that wasn’t there before. Wealthy consumers have shifted behavioral trends in how they choose to spend their money when traveling. The definition of luxury is evolving, and the change applies to not only what people are spending money on, but how they’re doing it. Exclusivity and personalization also play important roles in the way luxury experiences are marketed. Customers don’t want just any experience — they want a unique one tailored to them.