History of Concierge Services – How It All Began?

The evolution of luxury assistance – Tracing the history of concierge services

The concierge is a French word. It is derived from the Old French word ‘conservus,’ which means ‘slave.’ The first documented use of the word ‘concierge’ dates back to 1697.

In today’s day, concierges are considered an integral part of hospitality service. Whether they are lifestyle, travel, or hotel concierge, their main job is to run errands and make arrangements on behalf of their client. However, in the olden days, their job description was far less glamorous and more informal. In 17th-century Europe, concierges were the guardians of the castles and keepers of the keys to royal castles.

During the festive season, royal families arranged grand banquets at their castles. It was a busy time for concierges, as they had to ensure that the guests had everything they needed and keep records of the keys to the castles’ rooms.

With the beginning of the 19th century, the role of concierges diversified. Concierges were now employed in government offices, prisons, and several other professions. ‘The Conciergerie’ is a famous courthouse and prison located in Paris, which employed multiple concierges. The warden, or Head of Concierges, was the guardian of the keys and designated cells for the prisoners.

With changing socioeconomic dynamics and demographics, the role of concierge has evolved. Initially, their job was concerned with maintaining security for royal personnel. Concierges acted as bodyguards for noble families on their journeys. Over time, a close liaison developed between concierges and their employers. Concierges started to understand the likes and dislikes of their masters, and, based on this information, they made travel accommodations and arrangements for them ahead of time. Hence, from being security personnel, they gained the more trusted role of being a personal assistant to noble families.

In the 19th century, the lodging business gained momentum. Concierges were rapidly employed at lodges and inns to provide customized services to clients. With time, concierge service became more formal and organized. Societies were created in Europe which offered professional training to concierges.

In 1929, Les Clefs d’Or (translated as The Golden Keys) was founded in France. It is a professional, not-for-profit association of concierges that offers the best professional training to concierges. Les Clefs d’Or operates on the pillars of Service and Friendship. Its mission is to serve society by producing well-rounded, trained concierges and meeting exceptional standards for guest service. The members of The Golden Keys are usually considered an elite fraternity with the highest standards of professionalism.

In 1952, several other countries joined, and Les Clefs d’Or became a global organization. Currently, it has 4000 members working in 80 countries and 530 various locations worldwide.

After World War II, the American economy stabilized and boomed. The fruits of the economic boom were felt across all echelons of society, and demand for luxury increased. This resulted in an increased employment of concierges at luxury hotels. Nowadays, the role of concierge has further diversified, and they now work in lifestyle, medicine, travel, retail, and several other subdivisions of the hospitality industry.

Future of Concierge Services

  • history of concierge servicesExperts foresee a bright future for concierges in the hotel industry. For greater ease, comfort, and accessibility, concierge-type services are now available through mobile apps. With the infusion of artificial intelligence, concierge services will become more widespread not only at luxury hotels but at affordable, low-priced lodgings as well.

Epic Consolidated Services offers comprehensive concierge services in DC, Maryland, and Virginia areas. Our office is located at 1429 21st Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20036. Our trained professionals will serve you 24/7 and ensure a stress-free living.