What Is Concierge Service? – Meaning & Business Models

Do you ever wake up and feel like there should be someone to do your errands while you sit back and relax? To plan your entire holiday or a date, instead of you sitting in front of the computer screen for hours? Do you want an expert to be your personal assistant or your lifestyle manager?

Well, there are companies which provide such services. Their employees will do anything for you as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical.

Welcome to the era where concierge services have become a big and really profitable business model.

What Is A Concierge?

Some say that the word ‘concierge’ is derived from the Latin word ‘conservus’, which translates to ‘fellow slave’, while some say that it has evolved from the French ‘comte des cierges’, which means ‘the keeper of the candles’, which was essentially the main duty of concierges during the Middle Ages. Nonetheless, concierges’ meaning and duties have changed over time. They now perform almost every task for top-level managers, VIP customers of banks and hotels, superstars, or anyone who has enough money to outsource their work to them.

So, what is a concierge?

A concierge is an individual or company specialising in personal assistance or any other assistance services like household management, lifestyle management, transportation, travel and vacation planning, etc., and provides personalised services to its clients (usually high-net-worth clients) at a variable price.

The idea is to save the client’s time by performing their routine or specialised tasks.

The Concierge Services Business Model

Concierge services are a fairly recent addition to the luxury industry, all thanks to the constantly changing business environment, technological advancement, and the long working hours of the working professionals. Such limitations have resulted in a lack of time in the life of the people. They now wish for either more time or someone who can do the work for them while they free their time for the things that matter. The concierge services business model capitalises on this need.

Earlier, concierges used to be restricted to hotels or luxury apartment buildings and assisted guests by making restaurant reservations, arranging spa services, recommending places to visit, booking transportation, etc. But now, these individuals and companies have moved ahead and specialised in many tasks ranging from lining up tickets for concerts or special events, planning a holiday trip, doing the shopping errands, restaurant recommendations and reservations, etc.

The business models of different concierge service providers differ in the types of service provided and to whom it is provided. Some concierges help employers maintain good employer-employee relations, some deal in handling customer grievances, some concierges provide personal travel planning services, while some provide all these services by acting as personal assistants or lifestyle managers.

Here are few concierge services business models that are prevalent today:

Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine (also called boutique medicine, retainer-fee practice, direct care, and membership medicine) is a prevalent concept where the customer pays a flat/annual fee or a retainer in exchange of enhanced personalised care and better access to their doctors.

The concept was started in 1996 when a doctor from Seattle decided to ask his patients to pay an annual fee or a retainer in exchange for highly attentive medicine. The practice became famous in a short while and was accepted by a lot of doctors from all over the world.

The concierge medicine business model is a win-win model for both the doctors and the patients as the doctor doesn’t have to manage a huge number of patients to make their ends meet, and the patients get timely and personalised care and treatment from their doctor.

The retainer fee of such service range from few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year. This may or may not be in addition to other charges and may or may not be covered by health insurance policies.

Lifestyle Management / Personal Concierge

Lifestyle management is a specialised service where the client outsources his personal tasks like daily errands management, pet sitting, house sitting, reservations, special events management, shopping etc. to a commercial firm or a professional.

These concierge brands use their expertise to save time and provide exceptionally personalised luxurious service to their high-net-worthed clients.

Hotel Concierge

The hotel concierge is one of the oldest and most prevalent concierge services provided to VIP and high-net-worth clients. These concierges provide services like making recommending and making restaurant reservations, arranging spa services, booking transportation, procuring tickets for special events, attending and assisting client’s guests etc.

Travel Concierge

The increasing popularity and affordability of travelling around the world have led to an addition of a new business model in the concierge industry: the travel concierge (or the trip concierge). The firms providing such services excel in travel planning and stand out by providing real-time information and 24×7 VIP support to their clients.

These companies know everything about the legal, social and cultural aspects of travelling in other countries and reserve/book everything beforehand for a seamless travel experience.

The Future Of Concierge Services

Mobile devices and the internet have changed the way concierges work. Today, a person residing in New York can ask his personal assistant residing in India to plan his trip to Egypt. All this can be done seamlessly with just one text message.

The industry is also not untapped and under-marketed anymore. The developed technology has included AI to concierges, which has led to this industry opening gates to medium-level income clients.

Google Assistant has all the plans to become your personal concierge. Assist is a famous automated assistant for messaging and voice. Haptik is building conversational AI for the world. Even Amazon has capitalised on this new trend with the introduction of Alexa.

With the new rise in the demand and supply of concierge services, the future of concierge services looks to be very good.

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