"Time has become the commodity of the '90s," says Holly Stiel, owner of Holly Speaks, a Mill Valley, California, concierge consulting business, and author of Ultimate Service: The Complete Handbook to the World of the Concierge (Delta Collins). "The popularity of concierge services stems from the fact that people are stressed, overworked, and need help dealing with life. These are busy people who need to spend free time nurturing themselves instead of running errands."
Stiel, who served as a concierge at the Grand Hyatt hotel in San Francisco for 16 years, says that concierges first appeared in European luxury hotels in the 1930s. While many entrepreneurs who go into the concierge business today gained skills and contacts from working as hotel concierges, Stiel believes that anyone who has the desire can become a successful concierge.
"One of the great things about being a concierge is that you don't really need a background in it," says Stiel, 49. "People I know in the business have been engineers, biologists, geologists, homemakers and teachers. It's really more about heart and soul than it is about experience. You should want to take care of people and help them. You should be savvy, worldly and able to multitask. You should love to do many things at once."