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Is Sivi, The Electronic "Personal Concierge" Worth $5 A Question?

December 4, 2012 at 5:09 PM | by | ()

In this world of instant gratification, Sivi.com (not to be confused with Apple's Siri) is a new 24/7 "concierge" platform that promises to text or e-mail back answers to your pressing questions within minutes, from an actual hotel-based concierge.

It's sorta like Ask.com, only real humans respond with their database of knowledge. But at $5 a pop for your first question ($4 thereafter up to ten questions, then $3 for 20, etc), is it worth it?

We decided to give it a test drive. Due to the fact we just got a puppy, we had to ask what airlines do not charge fees to bring a small dog onboard with you, to which Sivi responded with a link to pet policies for major airlines. We then asked for a list of über-pampering, pet-friendly US hotels, and we received a breakdown of four hotel groups (Kimpton, Loews, Trump and W) with the hotel fees and amenities included. It was a great start, and you can continue the conversation by hitting "reply" if you need more information (like continuing the conversation with a real concierge by simply firing away more questions).

So, it's not a bad tool considering it takes the grunt work out self-research. But how is it any different from just hitting up Google?

We asked Bryan Funai, Concierge at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas and member of Les Clefs d'Or, The International Assocation of Professional Concierges, for his thoughts.

"I think it's an interesting concept," Bryan told HotelChatter. "In today's fast paced and digital world, having a virtual concierge at your fingertips would be an asset. While having this virtual/digital concierge could provide quick access, we feel that nothing can replace the personal contact and attention a guest receives when being helped directly by a hotel concierge. Speaking to an experienced hotel concierge can provide a wealth of information, service and guidance. Concierges are known as part Merlin and part Houdini and through our experiences and contacts we can make the impossible possible."

That said, real concierge (in person) can provide recommendations based on years of past experience, expertise and contacts, and they are free of charge to any of their guests. And while gratuities are appreciated, they are never expected.

Tell us what you think about Sivi! Have you experienced the service? Is it worth it? Can it make the impossible possible…for a fee?

[Video: Sivi LLC/Photo:The Dorchester]

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