5 innovative concierge apps for luxury travelers

Internet enabled smartphones have been around for about a decade, and in that time the more forward-looking travel industry players have spared no expense or effort to offer increasingly tech-savvy consumers ways to access compelling content and services.

It seems that every year brings a wave of new trends, promises and innovations, most in the form of mobile websites and of course, apps. A glance at recent tech developments suggest that 2017 may be the year of the concierge app. Quite a few startups are vying for the coveted attention of time-starved modern luxury travelers looking for quick, easy and personal solutions.

We looked at recent mobile apps trying to disrupt an already crowded marketplace by introducing clever and increasingly simplified interfaces. We shortlisted four apps we believe may very well modernize the concierge concept for the digital age:

Symphony

The Barcelona based team behind experiential travel startup Ode to Joy has released a brand new app designed to remove all the effort from discovering and arranging highly personalized local services like hotel bookings, dining reservations, premium activities and just about any other service a visitor may need while traveling. Their rather unique and innovative approach is to get users to first swipe through a series of images to build a highly personal profile. You either ‘dislike’, ‘like’ or ‘love’ an image, or indicate that you ‘would try’ the implied activity. The app then serves up a list of curated local suggestions matched to your profile, effectively creating a fully customized city guide for every user. You can activate ‘Ludwig’, their built-in live chat concierge, ready to help you make bookings or reservations. Best of all, their concierge service is free. Symphony works in Barcelona but will be rolled out across major European cities throughout 2017. Symphony is available on iOS.

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Pana

This ambitious app was originally conceived by two computer science majors at the University of Colorado Boulder and hopes to perfect the delicate balance between trip planning, travel agency and concierge service. The trip planning feature allows users to easily collect the often dispersed reservation confirmations lost or hidden between hundreds of other emails, simply by connecting your inbox to Pana. You can then easily retrieve all your reservation details in one central location. Pana can also check in on your behalf and the collaboration features allow you to easily share and combine itineraries with travel companions. Pana Concierge is the company’s built-in live travel agent chat support system, seamlessly connecting users to a team of dedicated staff members, ready to assist with hotel reservations, flights and other travel services. Pana’s trip planning service is currently free for all users while Pana Concierge costs $49 monthly or $499 annually. A 7-day free trial is available. Pana is available on iOS.

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Bellhop

Built in New York by a team of experienced travellers, Bellhop hopes to cast a very wide net by breaking out of the hotel concierge service mould they started off with, and now offers everything from tours & activities, deliveries, transportation and even housekeeping. The app is currently available in New York City but a wider rollout is in the works. Bellhop connects to Uber and Resy for a seamless integration of these established transportation and restaurant booking services respectively, and the company is integrating a wide range of additional third party providers. Interestingly, Bellhop chooses not to go the live chat route and instead chooses to build a fully integrated self-service platform, making it a fully autonomous local concierge solution. There appears to be no membership fee or upfront charge of any kind, leading us to believe the app is monetized via commission deals with suppliers. Bellhop is available on iOS.

bellhop, concierge apps

Aces

HotelTonight hardly needs introducing. The last minute luxury hotel booking app has firmly entrenched itself as a significant player in the late stage discount hotel reservations game, thanks to a well-designed app and access to a wide range of appealing hotels. Aces is the app’s built-in live chat concierge system, available in 30 cities around the world to users spending at least a combined $200 per booking. Aces is staffed by real people, providing services that commonly are related to a hotel stay. That means that you cannot only request restaurant reservations and suggestions for local sights, your Ace can even ring the hotel for a wake up call or have a dental kit delivered. HotelTonight plans to roll out the Aces service to all of its locations across the world. HotelTonight is a available on iOS and Android.

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Conrad Concierge

Despite luxury hotels being the natural habitat of high-end concierges, few top brands have been successful at bringing their service into the digital realm. Though understably designed mostly for guests staying at a Conrad or Hilton Honors members, the app offers easy access to a compelling list of services and content. Users can explore the various destinations where Conrad is active and learn more about the surroundings, book local experiences and even take virtual tours. Once you’re checked in, all the standard trappings of a five star luxury brand like Conrad are just a tap away; dining reservations, wake-up calls, room service, housekeeping and just about any other service. Conrad Concierge is available on iOS and Android.

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Olivier Templar-James is Chief Editor at Luxury Travelers Guide.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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