If everyone uses concierges, what’s left for the rich?

Business Insider labelled “Amex Platinum and Black Card Concierge” and “Full-time travel agent” two of the “fourteen secret services for the super rich that you never know existed”. Really? Did no one really know what a concierge or travel agent is? What, you don’t? Google it. Now. Or else. You can try search “52 Ways to Use a Concierge by Katharine Giovanni”.

I take it that most of you didn’t Google it as you were told to. That means the concierge services may still be the fancy rich and mysterious in some of your perspectives. But, to tell you a secret, during the last half century or so, the concierge industry has been entirely stagnant, all while the IT trends and the finance industries continues to boom. Aside from been an amazing added feature of the AMEX black card that attracts customers, the concierge services are still restrained by physical locations and the lack of communication channels. Technology helped only in the sense that corporate agencies are able to provide online assistance for customers, which at a majority of time is machine-generated. 

I happen to stumble upon Simon Sinek’s TED talk at Maastricht: “First why and then Trust”. We become more and more distrustful of each other as the techno age goes on. But that is what’s at the basis of the concierge services, trust between the concierge, and the owner. A business traveller want to entrust his travel experience to someone they can trust, someone who can assist him in handling miscellaneous things such as finding the meeting place, booking meeting rooms, or arranging a taxi just as he steps out of the airport. You don’t want a machine-generated answer to your inquiries, you want a local, professional expert to tell you, according to your habits and preferences, which restaurant best suits your taste or which event you should attend in that best aids your networks.

The concierge industry is stagnant, because no one is taking the initiative to make a change. Imagine yourself working for a small to medium sized company, you travel a lot to international cities, you always wanted to attend the events and conferences but you use all your time running miscellaneous errands yourself. Imagine you got promoted, now you’re an executive but you’re still travelling around to meet new clients, you need a new suit or dry cleaning, you want a perfect restaurant or meeting place. Millions of business travellers like you don’t have the luxury of time to research information and arrange things themselves. Imagine – clicking on your phone and sending a request, before a concierge gets back to you within an hour on all the things you need. And, with low cost; because through that app platform, you are connected directly to an expert concierge. As businessmen, we all know how expensive intermediaries are.

Here comes the question – should such services, services that aids the productivity of frequent business travellers, that creates convenience with such low costs, only be for the wealthy? On top of that, imagine in the future, where all frequent travellers have access to the platform, what’s left for the rich?