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What is a Personal Concierge & How to Become One

Some people want things done, but don’t have the time to do them. But they are willingly to pay someone else to take care of their business efficiently and with a touch of class. Enter personal concierge.

Although personal concierge services are a fairly recent development, the number of companies that serve time-starved clients is mushrooming, right along with customer demand for such businesses. One San Francisco-based concierge business saw its client base double in 1996 and continue to grow up to 50 percent annually for several years after that. Some 2,000 miles away, a Chicago concierge firm that began with 25 clients in 1997 grew to service more than 85 clients in just a few years. Membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers, which includes some professionals who provide concierge services, swelled from a few hundred when founded in 1985 to more than 1,100 members by the late 1990s.

it is estimated that concierge industry revenue will rise 3.7 percent over the next five years to $4.4 billion annually from 2018. Staggering.

That may be why personal concierge Michael James is having his busiest year since he opened Michael James Group in 2004.

James’ fees open at $15,000 per year; that pays for six tasks per month. That may sound like a lot.

“Our fees are nothing — if you knew what it costs to book a private jet to go round trip to Palm Beach, you know it’s around $24,000 to $30,000 for that flight, you know, our services are a no brainer,” James said.

James’ communication style is direct. It may come from his background, growing up in New Canaan, Connecticut, surrounded by wealth. Or from experience — he took his first trip to St. Bart’s as a teenager.

“You know, I deal with some very powerful folks. And I think that when you push back — not be a jerk, but push back a little bit — they go, ‘OK, you know, he’s human, too. They make mistakes too just like I do,’” James said.

While mistakes will happen, James bets the app-based concierge services will make more missteps than he does. Plus, if there is an issue, he will be there to help the client and correct the error.

“My client is not using an app. God forbid there’s a hiccup. What are [they] going to do, scream into a phone, call an 800 number? No.”

Caught some interest? Want to know how to become a personal concierge?

How to get the best advice from none other than Michael Romei.

Once, Chef concierge Michael Romei needed to get blood oranges to a film crew in Mexico.

His client was making a movie named after the fruit. The last shot of the film was a dissolve onto a basket of blood oranges. But there were none to be had in all of Mexico. The VIP knew Romei would find a solution.

“I purchased the blood oranges at Grace’s Marketplace (in New York City) and sent them with someone by plane to Mexico City,” Romei said.

It is safe to say – Romei knows what he is doing or saying.

Here are five skills needed to become a concierge, in Michael Romei’s own words:

1. Passion

Passion must be in our DNA. It is our passion that drives us to deliver exemplary service. It is our passion that drives us to want to make others happy, which in turn makes us happy.

2. Discipline

We learn and develop ourselves continuously during our own personal time, which requires a certain level of discipline. Most hotel concierge throughout the world are standing up while delivering service; this also requires a certain discipline and energy to perform.

3. Curiosity

We are curious individuals by nature — this is another requirement for a truly successful hotel concierge. To be curious and to strive for continuous learning makes us the ultimate expert of our city, country and hotel.

4. Communication skills

Verbal and written communication is paramount. We are consulted throughout the day and questioned for our expertise. It is therefore vital that we should articulate this information accurately and professionally, whether speaking, writing or posting online in social media. Most hotel concierge throughout the world are multilingual and should strive to be so.

5. The perfect handshake

We are meeting and greeting individuals throughout the day — we must do this with perfection. Here are just a few helpful hints for the the proper meet and greet and the perfect handshake:

  • Always remain a short distance from your guest or customer, never up too close.
  • If you do not know the guest or customer, wait for them to extend their hand. Be mindful of certain cultures in which one would not extend to their hand to a female.
  • Extend your right arm, bending your elbow so that your hand is slight upright and your thumb is open between your index finger to interlock with the other person’s hand.
  • As you interlock your guest/customer’s hand, look at their face, make eye contact, smile and then shake three times.
  • We are always led by our guest and customer; if the customer does not let go, we do not let go. If the customer lets go of the hand shake right away, then we do as well.
  • The hand grip should be not too weak, but nor should it be too firm. It should be just firm just enough to let the other person know that you truly mean to shake their hand.
  • While walking through your place of business, always keep your hand free so that you may meet and greet and shake someone’s hand as needed. If you have to carry documents, papers, telephone, try to carry them in the opposite hand.

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