An Insight into the World of Luxury Lifestyle Management
Origins of the Industry
These services are still up and coming and rising in popularity. In cities like New York and London they have existed for more than 15 years but in Spain they are still considered a new concept. Alberta La Grup began in Barcelona in 2006 and began to offer a service that was completely unknown in Spain, mainly in Madrid and Barcelona. In general, there is now a greater knowledge internationally of the ‘concept’ and the advantages and benefits of why a (Personal Assistant) PA or Concierge can be absolutely vital in the day to day life of many city-loving individuals and families.
From the beginning of the industry there has been considerable development in the service. The idea was inspired by the concierge service that 5 star hotels provide and the assistance that most of their guests are accustomed to. This group of professionals forms a prestigious association, ‘Les clefs d’Or’. In the USA there are various associations that group professionals and in the EU, there has been an initiative to create an association, but it has not prospered.
Initially the agencies that appeared dedicated their services to ‘concierge’ type services but now many specializations have appeared. Many agencies offer niche services, which has created a market that is extremely segmented.
This specialization and expertise depends on the target client, since there are agencies that primarily serve travelers, others focused on companies and their executives and some that only attend to the best private bank clients, and even agencies who specifically work for sportspeople at the NBA. Others offer a virtual service, through new technologies, such as ‘just for kids’ etc. so, specialization is coupled with new innovative services.
Some Benefits of the Services
Some companies have witnessed competitors offering loyal PA and Concierge service to VIP clients and have recognized and understood the advantage of a differentiating feature.
Lifestyle Management services help those who undertake relocation programs within large corporations by making the moving process an easier, more comfortable experience, ensuring peace of mind that the adjustment to a new life will be successful.
Even luxury property developers use the appeal of included concierge services as a marketing tool to help them sell more property to wealthy clients.
There are watch makers that don’t only sell watches, but also time! And mobiles encrusted with jewels that incorporate a 24/7 concierge button, or cars that a have an added inbuilt button on the steering wheel.
The list of anecdotes and examples of assistance are endless but here you have a selection of the most luxury and original chosen by journalist Colleen Kane from CNBC “Over the Top Concierge Services”.
Regarding a client’s profile, our experience at Alberta La Grup has shown that the clients that value a service like this are those who value their time, have busy lives, and know how to delegate to their PA or Concierge, who will resolve those things that they do not have the time, desire or energy to Celebrities made this fashionable, elite sportspeople and the middle class identify it as a desirable service (some agencies started making the services accessible to them) but the typical clients are successful men and women between 30 and 65 years old, executives, investors, or retired, who travel around the world either for business or pleasure. They have a high net worth, occasionally high social profiles and are among those who do not carry their own luggage. But all of them expect an excellent service.
The World is flat
Lifestyle Management is most prominent in areas such as the USA, (New York, Miami Los Angeles, Boston), EU (London, Paris, Barcelona, Netherlands), UAE (Dubai). But new lifestyle management companies are popping up all over the globe, from Greece to the Ukraine due to the impact of the growth of the industry.
The profile of professionals that offer these services is:
- Freelancers that work as PAs for celebrities or Concierge from their home for a few clients.
- Large agencies are some of the leaders in the travel agents market that offer a global service, and as a business model that on occasion responds to a membership quota. Alberta La Grup calls them “prêt à porter”.
- Boutique agencies, who strive to have a deeper understanding of their clients, cap the number of clients and limit them so that they offer a truly personalized and impeccable service 365 days a year. These are the characteristics that form part of the service model that at Alberta La Grup we call Private Client Culture. They are small in terms of their size but their services can stretch to all corners of the globe. ALG calls them “haute couture” agencies.
Thus, they make their mark in the luxury market. To put this into another context, imagine the hotel industry. The large agencies would be like the Leading Hotels of the World and the small ones, The Small Hotels of the World.
For additional information, see the 5 Best European Concierge Agencies listed on 2013, by World Luxury Tourism and Best Luxury Concierge Agencies according to JustLuxe (London) and Muzik Magazine (Canada).
Despite the lack of market statistics because the sector is relatively new and has potential to grow we believe that it is an industry that generates business for other industries, creates a significant number of jobs and grows steadily.
In 2012, in US estimate revenue was USD 220.3 million (according to IBIS World report)
Lifestyle Management and Concierge services, as we have mentioned, are designed for HNW and UHNW clients, so, the fact that as 1) the luxury sector was not hit as hard by the global economic crisis and, that 2) there are already low entry barriers, it has been seen as an easy industry to enter, making it an attractive business opportunity resulting in new agencies each month.
But, the reality is different because the market is very competitive. The luxury industry demands high expertise as it is one of the most demanding markets and to be a reputable concierge or LM takes more than 10 years of experience of successful problem solving together with other competencies. In ALG we have designed and established a training program for incorporating new staff, that considers up to 137 skills and capabilities that a PA or Concierge must have, and also we have defined a point of differentiation between both the concept of PA and Concierge.
- The main challenge within this industry is making people aware of the benefits of the services that it provides.
- To maintain the discretion that is offered and ensure that client privacy and professional ethics are respected.
Alberta La Grup must ensure that we retain clients by continuing to always offer excellence in everything we do. We must remaining one step ahead and offer a service which is a cut above the rest.
Please write to us for comments and share ideas or additional data. Thank you for your attention.
editorial Alberta La Grup | translation by Emily Mills| Mar, 2014
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