Luxe

Your wish is their command

Manika Dhama | Updated on January 17, 2018
Live it right Through concierge services, luxury has become about living the most unique experiences the world has to offer

Live it right: Through concierge services, luxury has become about living the most unique experiences the world has to offer. Photo: Quintessentially Lifestyle

Genie in a bottle: Experience-based travel is a popular service request for concierge companies. Photo: Quintessentially Lifestyle

Genie in a bottle: Experience-based travel is a popular service request for concierge companies. Photo: Quintessentially Lifestyle

No limits: A private jet to deliver a burger from California to New York? Can be done if you know whom to call!

No limits: A private jet to deliver a burger from California to New York? Can be done if you know whom to call!   -  Shutterstock

Luxury concierge services cater to the whims and fancies of the richest

Ever dreamt of savouring a romantic meal on an iceberg, converting your basement into a drive-in-style Batcave or needed a rescue for your lost pooch in the Everglades? These and many more desires are being fulfilled by a group of companies who’ve made it their business to turn your wildest (within reason) dreams into reality. Luxury concierge services (or lifestyle management companies) offer their members personalised service in any region of their choice across the globe. They cater to a select clientele with ample money and little time to make arrangements themselves, yet have a yearning for the very best, or the downright bizarre (like rare twin Japanese Shiba-Inu puppies for a fan of the movie Hachiko).

Anytime, anyplace

Companies such as Quintessentially Lifestyle, Les Concierge, One Concierge, among others, provide their members with personalised attention 24/7, 365 days a year with lifestyle management, promoting exclusivity and privacy. They ensure full-time, on-site assistance, globally. “We have an unparalleled network of contacts allowing us to source the most elusive of items from anywhere in the world, no matter how impossible the task might seem. We can arrange an autographed Roger Federer Tennis racquet, or even a limited edition John Lennon pen as a surprise for a loved one. We pride ourselves in creating memories for a lifetime for our members,” says Mishti Bose, Group CEO, Quintessentially Lifestyle India.

Through these services, the concept of luxury is being taken beyond acquiring the best products to living the most unique experiences the world has to offer. “Members place a diverse variety of global requests. Primary requests fall into the following categories — dining/nightlife, travel/experiences, events access and sourcing of unique items. Experience-based travel and curated dining opportunities remain the two most popular service requests for us”, says Bose. Destinations like London, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Los Angeles, New York are most frequented, though travel for their elite members is rarely about the destination. “Today the members make their pick based on exotic experiences such as witnessing Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) in Norway, gorillas in Uganda, or visiting the Black Forests in Germany. It’s no longer about simply travelling to luxurious destinations. Gastronomy based experiences are another favourite,” she says.

Prices vary depending on the type of services being requested, with some companies offering membership at a fees of ₹3,00,000 to ₹10,00,000. There are superior membership levels open by invitation only. Most concierge services rely on dedicated account managers who are required to study the request behaviour of each member, including likes, dislikes, spending pattern, preferred choices, etc., and accordingly assist with each request. Clients for their part are willing to pay for this level of service that is only a call away when needed. “My member assistant is on my speed dial for almost every requirement I have from booking my hotels anywhere in the world to arranging my dog’s food,” says a Mumbai-based user of a concierge service.

‘Lifestyle managers’

Traditionally, concierge services were limited to hotel staff helping out with tickets, transport facilities for sightseeing and shopping.

“A long-time client requested we fly a burger from California to his son in New York. We rented a private jet, for the sole purpose of transporting this cheeseburger to his son,” says Bernardo Largaespada of One Concierge.

Banks like American Express have been offering concierge services to key members since the turn of the century and dedicated luxury concierge companies have now made it their focus. “High net worth and discerning individuals are often even more demanding and so luxury concierge services have to gain their trust by surpassing expectations in every way. The service should be proactive and time efficient. The account managers should know their clients intimately. The concierge service should have a global network of exceptional contacts which they can utilize for their member’s benefit, as well as a host of partnerships offering value-added opportunities,” says Bose, who earlier worked with AmEx.

Most lifestyle management companies find the most popular requested services are for VIP invitations to awards and fashion shows, major sporting events, and concert meet-and-greets.

“Some of the most elaborate requests we have received include a one-on-one basketball game with a retired Miami Heat Player as well as renting out a Chanel store for private shopping and viewing with a Chanel designer, followed by access to the Chanel show during Paris Fashion Week. In all of the services we offer, clients are looking to ‘experience the inaccessible’,” explains Largaespada.

So, if you wish to sway with the crowds at Tomorrowland or fancy a wedding proposal atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge, opened only for you, it has — and can — be done. Just dial your personal genie.

Manika Dhama is a freelance writer based in Dubai

Published on July 20, 2016

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