A Brief History of Concierge Services Part 1

Most of us have stayed at a hotel with concierge service, but have you ever given a thought as to how and where this amenity first started? It’s not likely that you spent a moment, wondering while you were on vacation or a business or family trip, but just for grins wouldn’t you like to know?

After all, everything has a beginning somewhere, sometime, somehow. Most services, like a prom limo rental Greensboro NC concierge duties were born out of necessity. Dating back to the middle ages – yes – the middle ages, the concierge of the day was known as “a personal slave”, but the term soon graduated to mean “keeper of the keys”. Although there are times when the slave description seems to fit the bill, personally I resonate much more with the keeper of the keys.As a top notch, experienced Concierge, I love what I do and am proud to work in one of the oldest professions in the world. Let me give you a brief history of my time- honored vocation.

Tradesmen traveling the Silk Road between North Africa, Europe and China needed assistance in caring for their cargo and precious animals. Soon the responsibilities widened to accommodate more personal needs such as laundry, acquiring meals and making contacts scouting route conditions.

Complex trade routes with a constant stream of people snaked their way from one town to another with little in-between. Our modern day, unflappable, workers of the seemingly impossible, hail from the time when catering to the needs of trade caravans was a necessity for doing business.

Innovative and forward thinking entrepreneurs at the time saw a need to offer places of rest and refreshment along the way. These stops, known as caravanserais began popping up along the pathways. The caravanserais began to employ people to aid the weary traveler upon arrival.

The men and women who are a constant presence in your hotel’s lobby, take their cue from their ancient counterparts. The original concierge provided travel assistance, directions, the condition of the road ahead, best time and day to leave for the next step on their journey as well acquiring provisions needed for their customers’ journey. Assistance was provided through stories and tales brought back from other contacts who dotted barren landscapes between as well as other caravansaries along the way.

As always – humans know a good thing when they see it. The concept was accepted like honey to tea. From its beginnings, concierge services have evolved and grown. Trade routes became highways and camels and horses were replaced with automation. Soon the roads were hosting vacationers and the desire for full service, way stations grew with the needs of the people. The Concierge was more in demand than ever for the sake of convenience, hospitality and indeed pampering of the unending flow of guests and their request.

As is the case today, the “concierge” person became well-known to the regulars as the “go-to” person. And as a tradition has been passed down over the last thousand years they took pride in their ability to give service over and beyond the norm.

There’s more to the story. Let me know about your experiences with a favorite – or maybe not-so-favorite concierge you’ve had the pleasure to encounter on your Silk Road. Leave a comment below.