What percentage of hotels have real estate concierges?

Concierge: When the tenant rings twice

In this gallery: 4 pictures

Orchids on the walls, orchids on the tables, orchids on the front desk. Even upholstered furniture, wall paint and counters are color-coordinated with the dark red-orange flowering plants. IG Immobilien's OrchideenPark residential complex lives up to its name. At first glance, the reception area, also known as the service center, looks like a hotel lobby: there is a table bell on the reception desk, brochures are on the shelves, and a sign saying "Bathrobe available in the service center" hangs next to it.

In front of the reception there are massive upholstered armchairs around low, dark wooden tables. A small screen hangs on the wall that shows a blazing campfire non-stop, while a sports channel is playing on a larger screen on the opposite wall. Nobody pays attention to the program here.

All-round service for residents

It is currently quiet in the supposed hotel lobby. It's still early in the afternoon. Behind the counter, two employees of the concierge team are busy with organizational matters - making phone calls, e-mails and writing lists. Marcus Löwe - gelled hair, perfectly fitting shirt collar, always a big grin on his face - is one of them. He heads the concierge team in the residential complex in the 19th district.

Only now and then does a resident walk through the reception room, on the way to the wellness area or to the in-house fitness studio. Those who live here enjoy all-round service, the team from Löwe takes care of that. Watering flowers and feeding the cat when residents are away are part of the offer, as well as cleaning and postal services, organizing a cleaner for the apartment, a babysitter or a craftsman. If desired, the concierge can also take care of theater tickets, table reservations, a taxi or garden maintenance.

No girl for everything

"Our residents enjoy the fact that they don't have to take an extra vacation when the plumber comes into the apartment," says Löwe, "the concierge just takes care of that." Many also don't feel like picking up their parcels from the post office after a long day at work, says Löwe. "We take them and stow them in the post office box, right in our house." Many guests in the OrchideenPark come from abroad. "We are very happy when the concierge can also help with administrative procedures," said Löwe.

However, the concierge is not a personal assistant. "Some things went too far, we don't clean the litter box, for example," says Löwe with a smile. Even if the light in the apartment breaks, the concierge is not responsible. Because even if it gives the impression that the OrchideenPark is a hotel for long-term residents, every tenant or owner is responsible for his own apartment.

More and more popular

What has previously only been known from big cities like New York or London is also becoming increasingly popular in this country: living with a concierge. "In our experience, there has been an increasing demand for serviced living in recent years," says Sabine Zwierschitz from IG Immobilien, which, in addition to OrchideenPark, also offers a concierge service for its residents in the Campus Lodge in the second district. In Vienna, the concept of an apartment with a concierge is mainly used in combination with a luxury hotel. The hotels Hansen Kempinski and Sans Souci, for example, have hotel rooms as well as apartments whose residents benefit from the concierge service.

The costs of the OrchideenPark are not on the scale of luxury hotels, but nonetheless in the higher-priced segment. A 97 square meter apartment with a terrace costs 1,857 euros per month. The operating costs of 280 euros are already included and also include the concierge service, swimming in the pool and use of the wellness area and the in-house fitness studio. A deposit of 11,700 euros is due when you move in.

Living for every target group

There are 92 rental apartments and 26 serviced short-term apartments in OrchideenPark. Most residents, according to Zwierschitz, are embassy employees, expats and business people, but also singles and families. In addition, 115 owners of the neighboring residential complex use the concierge service.

It is also slowly becoming apparent in the lobby how well the concierge service has been received by residents. "It's busy here between 4pm and 6pm," says Löwe. Two small children scurry past the reception on scooters, their mother follows behind and is happy to see the concierge. A few friendly words are quickly exchanged. The concierge knows almost everyone in the house and everyone knows him.

Advantage for old people

Serviced living offers many advantages from which elderly people in particular, who cannot manage their everyday life one hundred percent, benefit. Residential projects with additional services are currently also planned for this target group in Vienna. The exclusive Das Hamerling residential project is being built in the eighth district and will offer 20,000 square meters of apartments and a senior citizens' residence - including a concierge service. Johanniter is building 53 affordable rental apartments for senior citizens in Vienna-Floridsdorf. As in a hotel, there is also a concierge there who advises residents and organizes food delivery, cleaning, repairs, patient transport and physiotherapy.

In the OrchideenPark, older residents are also particularly happy about the many offers from the concierge team. "We organize a cleaner who comes by regularly and cleans the apartment, which is a great relief for many old tenants or owners," says Löwe.

The presence of a concierge has another advantage: "It gives people a feeling of security," believes Löwe. "Our entire area is monitored with cameras, the porter sees everyone who enters the building," said Löwe.

The concierge as a confidante

You can clearly see the joy in dealing with people in Leo. As a concierge you have to be able to listen, he says. "A personal relationship develops with many residents, we are also trusted with private and family matters. Some are happy when they find someone to talk to in the concierge." Every now and then he and his colleagues would even receive sweets as thanks for their work, for example at Christmas.

And very different relationships would also arise between the residents. On the one hand - as everywhere where people live together - there are now and then complaints, on the other hand friendships are also created. "There are a lot of children in the house. People come together in our common rooms, for example at children's birthday parties in the party room, when St. Nicholas comes by and brings the children presents, or at the summer and spring festivals organized by IG Immobilien," says Löwe.

Concierge with body and soul

He has also made friends in the house. For example the three-legged cat BB (pronounced: Bibi) and its owner. "When our residents are away, we feed their pets and water their flowers," says Löwe. "BB is very happy when someone comes by, feeds and pats her." Like today. He carefully picks up the three-legged cat with the shiny black fur and gives her a bowl of water to drink. At this moment at the latest it becomes clear that Leo is a concierge with body and soul. (Bernadette Redl, 5.5.2016)