Increasingly demanding schedules, deadlines and social commitments require meticulous planning, savoir-faire and execution-and the rarified world of superwealth demands much more. As a result, today's affluent elite are relying more and more on concierges to help plan their lives as smoothly as possible and ensure a spectacular experience. Today, concierges provide their services to corporate VIPs, private individuals and, most recently, to some of the most high-profile and talkedabout residential properties in major metropolitan wealth centers.

In a recent study on lifestyle trends of the superrich, more than 600 private jet owners (with an average net worth of $89.3 million and a median net worth of $41.2 million) were asked about their use of and interest in concierge services. About one-quarter of the survey respondents currently availed themselves of concierge services, but this is clearly a growth area as nearly two-thirds saw the value of such services and wanted to use them in the next three years (Figures 1 and 2).

the connected concierge 2

The connected concierge 3

Differentiating Through Service
Concierges are growing in popularity among the very rich as a way to have professional support for their lifestyle. Concierges can provide their clients with entry to exclusive events and preferred access to entertainment and dining establishments, and deliver other unique services. The depth and breadth of services provided by concierge firms differs dramatically-some have a limited or specialized portfolio of capabilities, while others handle most aspects of their client's social calendars. Some of the core offerings that leading concierge service providers offer are:

Personal trainers with exotic fitness regimes;
Personal shoppers with access to celebrity stylists;
Anytime access and at-home spa treatments;
Premier tickets to sold-out sporting events, shows andscreenings;
VIP access to the hottest clubs and parties;
Access to exclusive after-hours events;
Dinners and cooking lessons hosted by celebrity chefs;
Last-minute reservations at fully booked restaurants.

Today, the number of concierge providers is still relatively small, but we believe the number will expand dramatically in response to the substantial increase of interest in this type of service. Each new provider, of course, will claim to be the best and most preferential to attract new business, but flawless execution will be required in order to earn and keep the business of sophisticated and wealthy clients.

The Emerging Leaders

Concierge services is a term that has been interpreted broadly and, as such, the types of firms offering said services vary widely. From OnStar - the well known virtual service provider that comes standard in high-end autos from Audi, Cadillac and others or can be subscribed to for a monthly fee - all the way to American Express Centurion, the service that accompanies the fabled black credit card available by invitation only to those who spend at least a quarter million dollars a year on the card.

Below are a handful of established providers known for their attention to detail, their discretion and their exclusive clientele.

Mint Lifestyle
101 S. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
300 A. St.
Boston, Mass. 02210

Les Concierge
301 Howard Street
San Francisco, Calif. 94105
Concierge Concepts International
13245 Atlantic Blvd.
Jacksonville, Fla. 32225
Aston Pearl
630 Fifth Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10111
JDCS Luxury Attache
118 East 25th St.
New York, N.Y.
Multiple locations worldwide

The Right Attitude Is The Difference

A top-notch concierge elevates the notion of luxury lifestyle management through powerful, efficient and customized services. They must be dedicated to their clients and quick to establish consultative, one-on-one relationships that allow them to accurately predict the wants, needs and most appropriate options for their clients and their entourage. A concierge staff makes every effort to get their clients whatever they want and, as such, "no" is simply not a part of a great team's vocabulary. Concierges must also have in-depth knowledge and experience of each service area so they can provide additional value to their clients by making personalized suggestions, like recommending the entrée on the menu at Nobu that the client will appreciate most, or providing insider tips such as the best night clubs in St. Barths or the coolest gift ideas from Colette in Paris.

Building An Unparalleled Network
Exclusive connections are one way a concierge provider can demonstrate their innovation and service philosophy to their customer base. When used effectively, the right connections can help each high-powered client get what they want, when they want it, while avoiding hassles and conserving precious time. Among a concierge provider's contacts are the names, numbers and personal e-mail addresses of the most highly sought professionals and specialists from Los Angeles to Laos... and beyond. A concierge with an emphasis on event planning, for instance, will have personal relationships with a range of superb caterers, florists, stylists, photographers, DJs and various other entertainment and service providers. Similarly, many concierges are expanding their network to become all-purpose resources for their clients; building a reputation for skillfully addressing everything a demanding client might desire-from personal trainers and nutritionists to security specialists and self-defense instructors to financial professionals, such as advisors, private bankers and hedge fund managers-with the proficiencies, acumen and dedication it takes to satisfy a wealthy client.

Relationships with third-party service affiliates must be nurtured on a regular basis, thus guaranteeing privileged access and attention for their clients and a reciprocal relationship that benefits everyone.

Concierges fill an interesting and unique role in the lives of the superwealthy; they have regular access to a desirable demographic and the ability to shape and influence their client's use of certain products and services. Partnerships with concierge providers can help luxury brands and specialty service providers reach important prospects in a high-touch and receptive environment.

Living The Urban Dream
One of the hottest trends in concierge services today is the on-site delivery of a full range of lifestyle support to the residents of exclusive urban condos. Currently, concierge services are becoming an intrinsic part of many high-end residential properties, just as doormen and parking garages have been in the past. As such, many of the residents of New York City's latest developments are now privy to a range of residential amenities typically reserved for guests of five-star hotels. Some services, such as interior decoration and home theatre design, aim to help residents maximize their living space. Others focus on easing the demands of everyday life, such as newspaper and magazine deliveries, laundry and dry cleaning services and personal training. And, of course, personalized assistance for special occasions is always available to the discerning resident in the form of personal shopping, event planning, catering and gift selection and delivery.

Fantasy Travel
A concierge also can be instrumental in putting together the ultimate travel plans, whether for business or pleasure. A seasoned concierge staff will propose a range of lodging possibilities-from time-entrenched institutions (say, the Oriental in Bangkok) to full service destination resorts (like the Calistoga Ranch in California's wine country), newly opened boutique establishments for romantic getaways (such as Hermitage Bay on Antigua) and other premium options. From to Rome, Ga., to Rome, Italy, every destination is accessible at the touch of the concierge's dial, enabling travel details and itineraries to be orchestrated down to the smallest detail. Each client is then guided through their journey with personalized tips and information on each locale.

A Valued Corporate Amenity
Concierge services are a convenient and clever way to extend a company's capabilities, allowing corporate executives to travel in style, entertain important clients or reward high performing employees. It is a concierge's duty to work with their corporate liaisons to develop and deliver a powerful business solution that can increase company productivity, improve employee morale and enhance client relationships.

The best concierges take the time to understand their clients' businesses and objectives to become an indispensable resource and help the firm meet its goals in a creative and memorable way. That might include identifying gift services- custom welcome baskets and pillow gifts for conference attendees; finding the most conducive spot to seal that all-important business deal; ensuring the best table in the house and a greeting from the manager; or the planning and orchestration of an over-the-top client appreciation event. Grammy tickets? An after-hours party with the cast of the new Broadway sleeper hit? Heli-skiing with former Olympians in Vancouver? A tour of the Ferrari factory led by a member of the Agnelli family and test-drives on the Autostrada? No idea is too extravagant, no detail too small for an inspired concierge. By blending the unique discipline of professional lifestyle management with truly customized delivery, a concierge can meet the corporate operating ideal while exceeding every client's expectations.

A concierge represents the ultimate lifestyle amenity, be it for a high-flying private individual, a superpowered corporation or as a resident of a prestigious residential development. A good concierge is on top of the hottest trends, aware of the most exclusive events and has all the right connections. It is a concierge's duty to grant their clients access to nearly anything they dream about, and this is achieved by having a well-established and unparalleled network of global affiliates and contacts.