Posts Tagged abbott
Fancy planning a killer night out with a group of friends but don’t have the time or aren’t “in the know”? A social concierge may be the answer to your problems.
Rachel Abbott is a senior manager in a large management consultancy firm. A New Yorker by birth who lived in London for six years, Abbott had been residing in Sydney for just under a year when it came time to organise her hen’s night in December 2011.
“I thought, ‘I don’t really know what I want to do’,” she says.
There were two main problems for Abbott. A busy job meant that her time was at a premium and she also wanted an experience for her hen’s night that was a bit out of the ordinary.
“I eat out a lot, so know where to find restaurant reviews but I didn’t want to just have a dinner for my hen’s,” Abbott says. “I wanted to do dinner and something a bit more special but so many things just seem touristy. Things like a harbour cruise can be an expensive gamble if you don’t know what you’re getting.”
For a $50 flat fee, Abbott engaged the services of More the Merrier, a new Sydney business that helps individuals plan group outings.
The self-described social concierge service, for groups of more than six, was established in August 2011 by friends Zae Greenwood and Chris Dair. Greenwood had worked for a decade with London’s Maybourne Hotel Group, which owns Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Connaught, first organising society weddings and corporate events, then in public relations for the group.
Dair is studying for a commerce degree and is a former dancer in musical theatre productions. he got the idea for More the Merrier from organising wrap parties for his fellow cast members.
“I think we’re becoming a little bit time poor,” Dair says. “we can let our social occasions slip by without giving them the attention they deserve.”
So far More the Merrier’s customers have been split evenly between small and medium businesses without the internal resources to organise company outings and individuals who have a special occasion to mark, such as a hen’s night or 50th birthday, that they don’t have time to organise.
“we can fall in the trap of doing the same things all the time and becoming comfortable in our immediate surrounds,” Dair says. “[More the Merrier] is like a social intervention.”
Clients give a brief to More the Merrier and the company’s concierge manager, Cynthia Hanson, puts together some options to choose from. there are pre-packaged tours and Hanson also puts together custom group activities.
“I wrote her [Hanson] a paragraph describing me and my friends and what we were looking for,” Abbott says. “I wanted something a little bit silly, girly and fun but at the same time, we’re in our early 30s. we weren’t about to go to a strip club or something.”
From some options, Abbott chose a dinner and cabaret theatre harbour cruise for her and her 10 girlfriends. Hanson made the booking and Abbott paid More the Merrier for the tickets later by PayPal.
Dair says apart from the concierge fee, individuals won’t pay more than if they organised the reservation themselves because More the Merrier has “relationships” with venues. The duo plan to extend the service to Melbourne this year and Dair wants to be organising at least 30 parties a week to make the business financially successful.
Abbott says More the Merrier’s service solves the issues of time and complexity, when it comes to organising something special for a group of friends to do.
“I think the value that they’re adding is they’re bringing together reviews, recommendations and booking,” she says.
“I thought I could spend the rest of my time reading Time Out or I could go through More the Merrier.”