The term lifestyle management refers to the outsourcing of personal tasks to commercial firms and individuals. Lifestyle managers or personal assistants act as an intermediary between suppliers of commercial services and consumers who are unwilling or unable to carry out a given task for themselves. These firms typically present their offer in terms of time-saving or access to expertise, with some firms also positioning their service as a luxury good.
Although high-net-worth households have traditionally made use of service staff, these staff were typically employees who carried out tasks themselves. Lifestyle management as a standalone service first came to prominence in the late 1990s, with the rise of "mass affluent" and high net worth consumers, and the launch of services such as First Direct's Octopus and NatWest's Zender (both now defunct). Both were mass-market services created to drive traffic to banking websites. This "B-2-B-C" (business-to-business-to-consumer) model is still followed by lifestyle management firms, though many firms are also retained directly by their clients. HR Magazine reports that 15% of large employers in the US offer concierge services to their staff.
A 2010 report by Oxford Brookes University estimated the global market for concierge services to be worth around $1bn, and suggested the most popular use for a concierge service is sourcing and booking restaurants (46%), followed by sourcing and booking a holiday (32%) and to helping to arrange business travel (27%).
The lifestyle management industry has a number of trade groups, many of which are closely affiliated to the hospitality industry, such as Les Clefs D'Or and The International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association.
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- Bob Northgate (18 January 2010). "Customers Switching Providers Costs UK businesses Over £3 Billion In Two Years". InternationalTrade.co.uk. International Trade. Retrieved 17 March 2015.