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July 20, 2024

Luxury concierge services have become the 24/7 companion to the jet set

Arushi Sakhuja  
Traditionally, a concierge was a person at hotels who handled guests’ travel arrangements or purchased tickets for events they wished to attend. Fast forward to 2023, and the meaning of concierge has transformed significantly. Today, a concierge is much more like a luxury lifestyle manager who ensures guest satisfaction.
Luxury concierge services promise to fulfil their client’s every whim. Whether it be access to exclusive experiences or the most elusive of products. Want to make your way into the most exclusive of nightclubs? Want to get your hands on the latest IT bag? Or dine at an almost-impossible-to-get-into restaurant? You got it all! Luxury concierge services extend far beyond. Today, personalisation is a key driver of growth in the luxury concierge industry with services tailored to meet unique preference and requirements of each client, ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction, said Yeishan Goel, Group CEO, THRS (Travel and Hospitality Representation Services). 
Photo courtesy: Hemant Mediratta
Mr Hemant Mediratta, Founder and CEO HMC Enterprise – a strategic advisory for global tourism and hospitality brands – agrees with the statement that the concept of luxury travel and concierge services has undergone a remarkable evolution over time. He believes this transformation has shifted the focus from traditional luxury to highly personalized and experiential journeys.  “Luxury concierge travel services aim is to elevate every aspect of the traveller’s journey, ensuring that every moment is a cherished memory in the making,” expressed Mr Hemant Mediratta.   
From a contemporary viewpoint, a concierge is a personal assistant, who provides a wide range of services to affluent clients. This can include booking spa services, securing last-minute restaurant reservations even at exclusive restaurants and organizing unique experiences, such as private helicopter tours. Ultimately, the concierge’s objective is to ensure guests’ desires are met, and they have a seamless and unforgettable experience. able experience. The luxury concierge service is adapting to a new era. “Today, travelers seek unique, tailor-made experiences that go beyond plush accommodations, emphasizing exclusive access and unforgettable moments. Luxury is the freedom to get what I want, how I want, and when I want it, and luxury travel and concierge service commitment make this freedom a reality for their discerning clientele,” added Mediratta.
 Travel Concierge services   
Photo courtesy: The Farm Big Lagoon
The world of luxury travel has undergone significant changes in recent years, with 2023 seeing a surge in demand for personalized experiences, exclusive access, and unique offers. Many consumers are now willing to pay extra for bespoke and luxury services, with a focus on authentic and culturally enriching experiences rather than mass tourism. This makes luxury travel concierge services an essential aspect of travel planning.
While other concierge services can assist with your travel needs, a dedicated travel concierge is better equipped to provide tailored recommendations and insider knowledge. Your travel concierge acts as your personal travel assistant, whether you’re pressed for time or seeking the most luxurious experiences, albeit at a cost. They can handle everything from travel arrangements to recommending the best local dining spots and even assisting with last-minute shopping.  “Travel concierge services differentiate themselves by offering a level of personalization and exclusivity that transcends traditional travel agencies,” Mediratta told LuxeBook. He perfectly summarized travel concierge services as “the architects of unforgettable journeys, ensuring every detail reflects the traveler’s individuality.”
Photo courtesy: Yeishan Goel, THRS
However, for Goel, the line between luxury concierge services and travel concierges have been blurred. He attributes this to the rising demand for luxe travel and exclusive, personalised experiences continues to rise. ” Today, most companies in luxury concierge segment are setting up their own holiday curation divisions by hiring personnel from similar backgrounds or have even partnered with reputed travel agencies to offer these services to their customers.” He further says, the luxury market in India has expanded many folds, encompassing not only traditional luxury goods but also luxury experiences and services. Luxury travel concierges cater to this expanding market by providing customised, high-end experiences amongst other services. However, India remains to be a heterogenous market where there’s sizeable consumer diversity specially in paths to purchase. Many discerning travellers for instance, still curate their own holidays even if takes more time and effort since they derive a sense of value in “doing it yourself”. 
 At the start of the century, AmEx introduced concierge services to India. Since then, other companies have entered this industry. While American Express has been the biggest in the segment with their black card, the Centurion and their platinum charge card, Goel pointed out a key fact saying that when you look at deeply customised premium and experiential vacations, boutique travel designers are extremely capable and sought after. 
 While the exact size of India’s luxury concierge services industry is unknown, industry leaders estimate it to be around Rs 500 crore. “The Indian luxury travel market is at its most virile time at the moment and luxury concierge service industry has experienced significant growth and transformation in the recent years with 13-14% compounded growth (CAGR), year on year. From boutique holiday designers to concierge companies opting to offer these services, several factors have contributed to this expansion making it a prominent and competitive sector within the luxury travel space at large,” said Goel.   
The worldwide luxury concierge service market is expected to exceed US$731.4 million in revenue by 2030, with a CAG growth rate of 5.5% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2030.  Speaking on the growing demand Mediratta shared that as travelers increasingly seek unique and exclusive experiences, the market continues to expand, presenting vast opportunities for growth and innovation. “India, a land of rich traditions and diverse cultures, is also a high-touch and high-service market. The essence of the Indian traveler lies in the art of outsourcing services, seeking the utmost convenience and excellence in every aspect of the journey. This presents a phenomenal opportunity in India for top-notch luxury travel concierge services to flourish and cater to the discerning needs of travelers who aspire for nothing but the very best. Indian travellers, in their quest for distinct and transformative experiences, are setting new standards in luxury travel. They are not just tourists; they are explorers of the extraordinary.” Some of the top tourist destinations for Indians continue to Southeast Asia and Middle East for short -haul destinations and Europe and America for longer vacations, shares Goel. “India has seen a surge in both domestic and international tourism with travellers seeking premium services to enhance their travel experiences including assistance with itinerary planning, luxury accommodation and unique experiences at the destinations.” 

The rising market   
 It is now evident that the demand for luxury travel and concierge services is growing rapidly. In post pandemic times, consumer lifestyles have significantly evolved – there is a shift towards valuing authentic experiences over material possessions Goel told LuxeBook. “We are seeing more individuals opting for luxury travel as it is perceived to be more comfortable, reliable and there is a sense of predictability in the quality of services. Given the macro-economic growth that our country is witnessing, there is a natural increment in the number of high-net-worth individuals and affluent consumers that’s creating a strong demand for personalised and premium services.”  
The reason behind this trend could be attributed to various factors such as the increase in disposable income of consumers globally, the competition to experience the most luxurious events in a city, or simply a new way of exploring a city. “Travel aspirations have evolved significantly, with individuals now seeking destinations that offer not just unique and immersive experiences but also transformational ones. Picture a golf game with the legendary Tiger Woods, a personal coaching lesson by Roger Federer, or perhaps the thrill of drifting cars in the bustling streets of Tokyo. These are the kinds of extraordinary experiences that capture the imagination of today’s travelers, believes Mediratta.   
In recent times, consumer spending on luxury items and services has surged, and this is expected to drive the growth of the luxury concierge service market. Moreover, the collaboration of multiple players in the industry, including hospitality partners, food and beverage experts, and travel service providers, is making travel more convenient. However, the most significant driver of the global luxury concierge service market growth is the demand for personalized and customized travel experiences.  
 According to a survey by ARC, the global luxury travel market is projected to reach $8,460 million by the end of 2024. Another survey by Resonance reveals that the wealthiest 5% take an average of 14.3 trips per year for business and pleasure, highlighting the need for bespoke luxury experiences. This trend is a boon for top-tier services to attract and retain luxury travelers. The rise in demand for luxury travel concierge services is a reflection of the evolving hotel industry and consumer behavior.   
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