"It's a bit like being able to phone Google for assistance," - former Newsquest commercial director Kevin Gallagher opens concierge business
"It's like being able to phone Google for assistance," says Kevin Gallagher, the former commercial director of Newsquest, as he explains to The Drum the thinking behind his new concierge business Mr Sykes Modern Concierge, launched in collaboration with DJ Rob Sykes, in an effort to service the increasingly busy London corporate hospitality and social scenes. Gallagher, who most recently spent three years working in the City as commercial director at financial services consultancy, Parker Fitzgerald, has spent over 15 years servicing the wants and demands of big spending brands while working in the media sector. Now, as spend begins to return to wining and dining on a massive scale, Gallagher has spotted a gap in the service delivery market, although he insists he has no plans to scale the venture beyond offering a great one-to-one service. "We have set this business up very much with people's lack of time in mind," he explains, adding that the "co-ordination economy" applies to multiple tasks across both business and personal life. "We're part little black book, part local Newspaper in terms of providing direction and the starting point for the things that busy individuals need. The service will aim to target business professionals in London or companies aiming to generate original ideas or tap into the personal knowledge from those involved in the business. “We serve those in London with the greatest time pressures. Depending on the brief, we set-up an array of life-hack apps, services, important reminders and provide intelligent intervention when required. Our job is to take the pain away,” Gallagher adds. "Personal outsourcing is a growing trend, busy people want the smarts, not the leg work," he states, predicting that the lifestyle of those working in the City of London is only going to become busier and busier as the city progresses. "We are highly experienced individuals working with people or companies on a one-to-one basis and devising a strategy for personal success and or to allow a company to delight its clients with unexpected solutions," he continues. “In a sense, we based this business on the trust dynamics driving loyalty in local newspaper brands - the synergy between reader-editorial-advertiser. We act as editors, suggesting and organising third party services for our customers. The people, places and products we propose are all personal recommendations, combining many little black books of contacts." "The financial crisis and austerity sensitivities clipped the wings of the hospitality sector. The economy has bounced back in many respects, and the heavy manners that most firms have been operating under appear to be easing. It also seems more attention is being paid to the value of human interactions and relationships in business, with firms seeking new ways to better engage their stakeholders and clients in particular. Firms are spending again, but they are seeking greater innovation and return. We help with gaining that traction." Over the next 10 weeks, Mr. Sykes will team with The Drum. Kevin Gallagher will present a series of features regarding best practice in and current trends in client hospitality, while Mr. Sykes Modern Concierge announce their Top 20 establishments in London for media companies and agencies to turn to when seeking somewhere special to eat out with clients. Each week Mr. Sykes will review two venues in the build up to revealing it’s number one recommendation for companies to wine, dine and impress the clients they most seek to please. The first two venues on the list will be revealed on The Drum from Thursday 8 May.