Concierge services adapting to new era of luxury experiences

From wellness trips and private rentals to impact travel and meaningful experiences, the luxury concierge service is adapting for a new era

Playing the organ at Notre Dame. Training with a world champion boxer. Having a famous actor pop into your murder mystery party, or an elephant attend your wedding.

These are just some of the exclusive experiences that personal concierge experts Ten Lifestyle Group have sorted for their wealthy and mass affluent members – a mix of celebrities, entrepreneurs, changemakers and business leaders.

There is no shortage of demand for exclusive, pioneering and luxury experiences, with Ten Group delivering its services to some 2 million members 24/7, 365 days a year, wherever they are in the world.

And while the pandemic temporarily put pay to demand for such services, personal concierge and lifestyle management companies have returned with a roar, as members and clients look to make up for lost time, and lost experiences.

These global concierge companies – of which there are quite a few – not only help members save time, undertaking daily mundane or complex tasks for them, but also facilitate privileged access to the private events that money can’t buy, and curate personalised and pioneering experiences and travel. 

Both corporations and individuals can benefit from these services as they aim to meet the needs of rich and ultra-rich clients – and global wealth is surging. 

According to The Wealth Report by Knight Frank, global growth of Ultra-High-Net-Worth individuals (with US$30m or more) and millionaires is predicted to rise by 27% and 41%, respectively, in the next few years to 2025.

Couple this with a post-pandemic increase in the desire for ‘experiences over ownership’, and demand for concierge services could skyrocket.

Pandemic gives rise to different demands – exigent and impactful

But the nature of that demand is changing, as people’s priorities and values change. Since the onset of the pandemic, attitudes and behaviours towards consumerism have shifted radically, with reports showing that people are now more aware of their impact on the planet, society, and people, and are looking for a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment.

Not only are concierge clubs finding exigent requirements to be the order of the day, but UHNW individuals are increasingly choosing experiential luxury – impactful, immersive experiences – as a way of creating memories and delivering impact.

“The pandemic has transformed the requests of our members,” declares Olivier Larigaldie, CEO of Jean Paul Group, one of the world’s oldest concierge companies that delivers its premium concierge and loyalty programmes to several thousand members worldwide.

Larigaldie points to increased demand for services to repatriate families, and to entertain and occupy children not attending school, as well as high demand in facilitating personalised home meal deliveries that are both healthy and of local provenance. And when it comes to experiences and travel, members are planning fewer long trips, requesting destinations closer to where they reside, taking more staycations, and booking last minute.

Ten Lifestyle Group, a concierge company with more than 2 million members and 22 offices worldwide, is seeing a similar story on the travel and experience front, with members focused on ‘safe’ and ‘easy access’ destinations, including staycations, as well as booking last-minute – something the group predicts will remain for at least 24 months as global government restrictions continue to change.

They are also seeing soaring demand for private vacation rentals, thanks to an increase in remote working, as well as a desire by members to take longer trips to avoid potential travel complications, and to have increased privacy and security; not to mention growing demand for vacations and experiences that centre around health and wellness.

The global lockdowns gave many HNWIs unexpected time for self-reflection and wellbeing, and as such, this trend is now seeping into travel plans, with “trips that enrich both mind and body becoming increasingly popular”, says Gabriella Stanley, Business Development Director, Ten Lifestyle Group.

Recently released research from the Luxury Institute reveals that as we emerge from Covid-19’s most challenging period, UHNWIs are once again embracing the gated community and private club model – the pandemic having made private, protected environments such as villas, farms, ranches, islands, jets and yachts the most favoured spaces.

More crucially, the research finds that most UNHWIs are seeking a noble purpose to their lives and work, far more than ever; and when they travel, now prefer to select sustainable travel venues, connect with nature, and engage exclusively with environmentally respectful brands.

Julius Baer’s first-ever Lifestyle Index, which surveyed HNWIs in the first quarter of 2022, backs up this impact-first sentiment. The Index revealed that HNWIs show a strong intention globally towards experiential spending on leisure activities and travel, and that ESG is playing an increasingly key role in their spending, as they look to align their financial and investment decisions more closely with their personal values.

Sustainably focused services, impact travel, philanthropic experiences rising

Luxury concierge services have seen acceleration of this trend too, with member requests for low-impact experiences and services rising fast.

“We are seeing more and more responsible and sustainable requests emerge,” says Larigaldie, acknowledging that while clients still demand unique experiences and excellent service, they will not do so at any price or impact.  

“In order to best respond to the changing demands of our members, we have re-invented our solutions”, Larigaldie tells Business Chief, explaining how Jean Paul Group’s Concierge Managers are working with Partners, of which there are thousands, to adapt the offers – rescheduling training on certain travel destinations or dining solutions to ensure the group’s concierges can recommend the right products.

Ten Lifestyle is also seeing an increase in its members “looking to make more sustainable choices from the brands they buy from, to the restaurants they eat at, and the companies they travel with,” says Stanley. And is seeing rising requests for experiences that educate, such as foraging in different locations like Japan, and for low-impact travel and farm-to-table restaurants.

Pure Entertainment Group, which offers luxury travel and concierge services to private and corporate clients worldwide, is finding the same with an increasing number of clients requesting sustainably focused experiences and services, and in particular, rising demand for luxury experiences that are also philanthropic.

“Clients are seeking our guidance on ways they can contribute, whether financially or via participation, to initiatives that support the environment, economy, and local inhabitants of the area in which they intend to visit,” Steve Edo, CEO and founder of Pure Entertainment Group tells Business Chief.

In response, Pure Entertainment is increasingly building relationships with suppliers who are pioneers in sustainable luxury tourism, so they can offer clients and members an array of experiences that are both “exceptional and environmentally friendly”.

Among those on offer are luxury lodges in Africa that are both eco-friendly and prioritise conservation efforts, where guests can accompany a research team to locate a rare or endangered animal and help conduct health checks; lodges offering reforestation programs that help preserve wildlife and their habitat; and properties that are fully-sufficient, generating their own solar power, filtering their own rainwater for consumption, and growing all their own produce – some even with their own wildlife sanctuaries.

“Clients and members come to us with an idea of what they would like to do and accomplish, and we create the roadmap, suggesting properties that align with their goals and values, and in many cases pairing their luxury travel experience with environmental and/or humanitarian philanthropy,” says Edo.

And for those who still wish to fly privately, carbon emission offsets can be purchased to help offset the environmental impact of their flights or experiences.

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