Have you ever dreamt of flying in a fighter jet at 43,000 feet? Or having a romantic dinner on an iceberg? Or watching the Northern Lights at the North Pole? These are the sort of the unusual requests that can be grouped under the description of concierge services.
Concierge services were once provided exclusively by concierges at luxury hotels, people with an important role based on their total discretion, their aptitude for assisting their guests, and their in-depth knowledge of the location. In December 2000, three people in London realized that there was an important niche in the market consisting of concierge services available to all, in other words disconnecting the luxury services from the hotel environment. Aaron Simpson, Ben Elliot and Paul Drummond, the three founders of Quintessentially, began their business from Soho in London, creating a membership organization that offers assistance for lifestyle requests. Classic and frequently-recurring examples include last-minute restaurant reservations, theatre and opera tickets, access to exclusive clubs, parties, and the organization of special events. Quintessentially rapidly became popular for all those people in London with little time to make arrangements, but nonetheless keen on enjoying the best that the city had to offer.
Over the space of ten years, the service has expanded, and now covers 64 cities worldwide, including all the major luxury capitals. The Internet offers an invaluable communications tool for members, and in particular, members are kept up-to-date on what's hot by means of weekly newsletters for the various cities, with highlights on the top events, gala evenings, film premieres, chic parties and fashion shows.
While some requests, such as the bizarre examples in the first paragraph, are rather unusual, others recur frequently, and to provide these as efficiently as possible, at a level tailored to the expectations of a luxury clientele, Quintessentially has expanded to encompass 32 sister enterprises, specializing in services such as real estate, luxury cars, art collection, fine wines, bespoke gifts, event planning, luxury travel, and design. Its partnerships with service providers include Jaguar, British Airways, Audi, banking groups, and residential properties.
The Group's expansion has also produced an interesting spin-off. Quintessentially's work in different markets has led it to develop first-hand knowledge on setting up business enterprises in major cities worldwide, and this experience is available to members who themselves wish to start business in a new destination.
The Quintessentially team is still led by the original three founders. Aaron Simpson, Group Executive Chairman, has a background in film production with his own company Flashlight Films. His strong entrepreneurial spirit has been pivotal in establishing Quintessentially as a global brand. Ben Elliot, Founding Director, is a business specialist who made important contributions to the Group's growth; he chairs the Quintessentially Foundation, which supports charities around the world. He is also a journalist and film producer. Paul Drummond, Group Commercial Director, qualified as a solicitor in 1997, and in the early years of Quintessentially, implemented its operational systems. He spent three years in Dubai developing the company's work in cities such as Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco.
The latest addition to the leadership team is Emma Sherrard Matthew, Chief Executive Officer, appointed in May 2011, though part of the company from 2005. She works on new network development in the field of luxury, and in this she can utilize her significant career history, having organized events for heads of state and Hollywood personalities. She is predominantly based in Hong Kong, which reflects the growing importance of the Far East in the luxury market.
At Quintessentially, the mission of catering efficiently to all requests however difficult has led to many remarkable success stories. It has arranged a private dinner with the Dalai Lama for a member. It managed to close Sydney Harbour Bridge so that a member could propose to his partner in a location that they both loved. A call from a member who wanted to see the rare pink dolphins in the Amazon and couldn't find them, even though he had enlisted the services of a local guide, led to a search that culminated in a helicopter trip taking the member to view the dolphins.
Quintessentially delivered a metal detector high in the French Alps for a member who had lost his house keys in the snow. They have arranged a party for 300 people at the Pyramids in Egypt, and transported an iced Christmas cake from London to Sydney. They have secured seats at London, New York and Paris fashion weeks. They even rescued a member from his chalet when it was totally isolated and half-buried in snow.
So, the question is: what would you like to ask from Quintessentially? We only have one life, so do it now! Meanwhile, you can find out more from www.quintessentially.com