The rise of concierge culture
As the millennium dawned almost two decades ago, it brought with it a new buzzword for the contemporary age: the concierge. Once synonymous with hotel stays and luxury travel, it was quickly appropriated by many large retail, travel and financial brands in response to the increasing demand from consumers for a personalised service.
Over the past five years, however, the concierge has undergone another evolution, extending to complete lifestyle management. The tailored and the personalised have long been connotations of luxury, but for those who prioritise service and experience, lifestyle curators are integral.
When time comes at such a premium, the now established network of concierge services ensures the smooth operation of every day life, from the logistics of a house move, a luxury purchase or a multi-destination holiday. In addition, with more lives becoming transatlantic, prompted in part by development in technologies that afford global careers and professions, leisure time is restricted. This has resulted in more people, understandably, only wanting to spend that time in a quality way.
It speaks volumes that many of the Top Fortune 500 companies have introduced concierge services to their ‘perks packages’ as an incentive to both join and stay at the firm. For prospective employees, the opportunity to outsource the responsibility of personal administration, from laundry pick-ups to taking deliveries, is invaluable.
Furthermore, the boom of the internet and the dawn of Google has meant that we are more informed and knowledgeable about our options, whether it’s choice of restaurant or personal shopping service, but remain mystified when it comes to identifying which is the best – or most suited – to our needs. The internet is inexorably populated with unnecessary information, sifting through which can waste yet more time.
However, this is where the concierge can truly come into its own: the very best in the business now dispense with the internet altogether and operate almost exclusively on word of mouth recommendations and of course first-hand experience. With their exclusive network of peers, and a direct dial to the most refined services you could ever wish for, they have cut through, they are efficient. And above all, they are human.
The human touch is almost nowhere more important than when it comes to matters of the heart, and for those looking for a likeminded partner, a concierge-style service is irrefutable. With more of us comfortable in the discretion of our PA, nutritionist, PT, stylist and so on, a matchmaker has become tantamount to a business solution.
Almost counter-intuitively, the rise of the matchmaking service is in part a result of the rise in popularity of internet dating, which has emancipated many from any qualms they might once have held in discussing their romantic ambitions. But at the same time, it has accelerated diversification in the dating market over the past five years, as the onslaught of indiscriminate matches and messages has proved demoralising and ineffective.
A personalised matchmaking service is the antithesis of a dating website, which has been criticised as too scattergun in approach. It is of course human-led, where the matchmakers invest their time in pairing up genuinely compatible individuals; and to have signed up in the first place is to register intent for a committed, meaningful relationship.
For many, hiring a matchmaker is the equivalent of another addition to the entourage, which helps life to run seamlessly and enjoyably.