Key Insights

Concierge. There’s More To It Than You Think.

A concierge is a virtual one-size-fits-all provider of personalized services. In a residential condo building, the concierge will work at a desk station near the front lobby area of the building. The concierge role is varied and multi-dimensional; a great concierge can successfully wear many hats. From provider of a friendly “Hello”, to being a vital cog in the management of a building, the presence of a concierge elevates the community, security and personality of a building. The familiar, welcoming face – that gets to know residents by name – adds a dose of daily friendliness.

A gatekeeper of sorts, the concierge is able to use positivity, familiarity and diligence to help create an added sense of security and peace-of-mind for a building. He’s a member of the community –  a friendly neighbour watching out for the residents’ and the building’s best interest.  But if a concierge program is so great, why doesn’t every building offer one? Short answer – someone has to pay for it. And in a market with rapidly increasing condominium prices, adding more money to the buyer’s cost is not always achievable.

So what are the variables that make a concierge program worth looking at?

While there is no magic formula, our research shows us that if the following conditions are present when formulating the programming of a building, then a concierge may be worth considering.

  1. Market Location – it’s no surprise that an apartment for sale in Downtown Vancouver is going to sell for a premium over a condominium, say in Coquitlam. The potential buyer in today’s market can expect to pay upwards of $1200 ppsf for downtown and almost half of that in Coquitlam. For $1200 a square foot, the downtown buyer has a loftier expectation for luxury, and more than likely the pocketbook to pay for it. If your project is in a strong performing urban core market like Vancouver, Metrotown or Brentwood, consider a concierge program.
  2. Number of Homes – concierge service costs are based on factors including hours of service, cost of labour, and degree of services. The more homes, the easier it is to share in the concierge cost.
  3. Multiple towers – programs can be constructed that share concierge services among towers, thereby increasing the number of homes paying into the service and lowering overall per unit cost.
  4. Amenity – is there a lot of extra amenity in the building? Things like private function rooms, games areas, theatres, party rooms, etc… each require specific care, scheduling and cleaning. A well-managed concierge program can increase long-term enjoyment of these facilities for residents.
  5. Mixed-use – in mixed use projects, properly programmed concierge can benefit more than just residential tenants, and some of the costs can be assumed by retail and office tenants.

The inclusion of concierge service is often fueled by the increased demand for luxury, and developers seeking to elevate a new building’s luxury appeal realize that it’s not  enough to just have a high-end brand kitchen and call it luxury. Keep in mind, luxury service comes at a cost, and in order for a luxury offering to be successful it needs to do more than just offer appeal. It needs to make sense for, and be within financial reach of your target market. If the program adds an extra $0.50 to strata fees, it might not be the best decision

We are big fans of concierge services for buildings. We believe that it not only adds a great deal of marketing appeal, but also contributes a great deal to the long-term upkeep. We also understand that it doesn’t fit every project. And, it’s not one size fits all. At Key Marketing, it’s our job to help developers wanting to deliver a luxury product whether concierge service should be considered, and if so, what level of services should be included.