Is it possible that concierges, VIP hosts, and the like could be replaced by an electronic gadget?
Ouch, pull your claws back in please! Of course it’s possible, the question really becomes one of whether or not the average VIP host, concierge or nightclub promoter will do something to keep from being replaced by a gadget.
Technology is one of those crazy things – you can live with it or you can live without it, but if you make the latter choice, you need to understand that the rest of the world is going to pass you right on by. Without a second though.
[RELATED: Listen to the PODCAST – How Concierges, VIP hosts, and club promoters use mobile to market to clients]
Travel + Leisure (I am 1,000% SURE you have heard of them if you are concierge) has published an article about how technology is changing the hotel stay of guests, at least the ones spending enough money to stay in hotels where things like key cards instead of room keys are standard items.
No. 1: Concierges Are Getting a Reboot
A number of upscale brands are taking their concierge services digital, using texting, social media, and custom apps to help guests connect with the hotel. In some cases, they’re replacing people with technology altogether.
What? How can this be? Honestly, we love gadgets and we love being left alone, but figuring out what the best restaurant in midtown is AND getting a reservation on short notice is NOT something we’re going to leave to OpenTable to sort out (seriously, have you figured out how they rank these local suggestions yet? We think we have, and it’s not pretty!).
No.6: You Can Stay For A While—in Style
If you consider them at all, you might think of extended-stay hotels (a.k.a. apartment hotels) as functional but blah accommodations for businesspeople or families between homes. But a number of properties aimed at leisure travelers have recently hit the market. They’re upscale, offering rooms that feel like residences (kitchens, separate bedrooms), yet with a level of predictability and service that you generally don’t get with vacation rentals. There’s just one element travelers might miss. “Some people want to meet the owners and have some hot chocolate with them,” says Skyler Reep, marketing director at Stay Alfred, which has serviced apartments in 11 U.S. cities. “We don’t offer that.” For some, that might actually be a selling point.
Extended stay services don’t traditionally have concierge service available, and we think it’s a grave oversight on the part of AirBNB, VRBO, etc – on a recent trip to Seattle for Hempfest, we booked into an AirBNB, and since it was our first time, we were probably so spoiled by our host that no other stay will even begin to compare to it.
Frank, our host, was quick to respond to texts asking him where the best “oysters by the lake (his property was Lake Union waterfront) within walking distance”, and “what’s the best place to catch public transport into downtown in the morning” but we do believe he’s a rarity, not a regular.
If we book for Vegas and our host doesn’t call, we’re going to be pissed.
We do business with a number of Vegas casino hosts, but that’s mobile marketing, mobile advertising, mobile stuff business. It’s not our personal business using the same host that we’ve had for years at our favorite Vegas hotel. We’re headed up next month for a cannabis conference, and if we book and don’t get a call, we’re going to be pissed.
Maybe it’s not going to be like that, but in the days of cost cutting and de-personalizing service, it’s going to become an even more cutthroat market for concierges, VIP hosts, party and event promoters, etc – especially if venues decide that they can manage events on their own (using platforms like ours perhaps?), and don’t need the manpower and staff to provide the person touch.