Intro: Catalin Buzatu is a founder and CEO of Excellence VIP Services, a fully licensed company providing exclusive luxury lifestyle management and concierge services worldwide. The aspiration of the company to exceed clients’ expectations, readiness to provide high-quality services 365/24/7, high level of personalization and confidentiality in work with clients, professionalism and perfectionism of the team – all these factors brought the company the honorary status of the winner of Luxury Lifestyle Awards in the category of The Best Luxury Concierge Service in Europe. We took the opportunity to talk to Mr. Catalin Buzatu about the key principles of his award-winning company, his experience as the founder of Excellence VIP Services, and his path to success.
Luxury Lifestyle Awards: Mr. Buzatu, would you please tell us a little about yourself? What did you do before establishing Excellence VIP Services?
Mr. Catalin Buzatu: I was born in Romania, and I used to be a professional tennis player. When I was 13 years old, I went to Barcelona with my mother to practice and to have better conditions. I have dedicated my youth and life to the tennis world from the age of 7. In 2010 I founded the Company Excellence VIP Services after I set my career as a professional tennis player. First, I became a tennis coach, and at the same time, I started to develop the idea of Concierge Services. Over the years, I had to give up coaching and dedicate myself completely to this business.
LLA: How did you come up with the idea of Excellence VIP Services? Why did you decide to establish a concierge and lifestyle management company?
CB: I always liked to connect with many people from different fields, and I was always attracted by the luxury services that exist throughout the world, so when I had the opportunity, I have attended some international luxury events. Such as: Yacht Shows, Business Aviation Events, Film Galas, American Express World Luxury Expo, and many more. While traveling a lot with tennis and knowing many countries and cities, I decided to replace the sport life with business.
LLA: How would you describe the competencies of Excellence VIP Services to people who hear about it for the first time?
CB: There are only a few companies of a Concierge at an international level in the world with service like Excellence of the VIP Services. And then, there are a lot of concierge companies, which are presented only in a particular country or a particular city, and it is very difficult to control, if they have a great international cover. As a service, I think that the Excellence VIP Services is a company that provides the most complete list of opportunities for an unforgettable vacation or any other desire for both business and pleasure. The difference between the Excellence VIP Services and the rest of the companies, which are devoted to the field of the Concierge, or better said, the Luxury Travel Management are as follows: we have a wide variety of comprehensive services, where we improve and add new services on a year-to-year in order to be able to provide the clients with every desire they may have. For example, this year we have added the service for unique Experience of getting to know the natural world and Safaris in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and the North Pole with a Personal Assistant.
LLA: In the former days, you were a professional tennis player. Does your sporting experience help in your current position?
CB: Tennis really helped me a lot. First is the education that you learn from tennis, of course, after the most important one – education received from your parents. Traveling around the world as a tennis player has helped me a lot in knowing the cities, hotels, restaurants, places of fun and entertainment, and the landmarks. Of course, in all these places where I was traveling, I would meet many business people from different fields, some of whom would become my clients and then recommend me to other friends of theirs and acquaintances, that’s how this adventure began in the world of luxury.
LLA: What are the advantages of working in the luxury sector, with the most demanding and sophisticated clients in the world?
CB: Some clients may be more demanding and others less, and we must adapt to each client and their requirements. It also depends on the services they request and the time period we have available to provide the requested service. The richest consumers are willing to pay very large amounts for personalized attention. The idea is to buy an experience, adapted to the needs of travelers and sufficient to relax from the daily stress.
Nowadays, the concierge is much closer to a luxury lifestyle manager, selling unique travel and experiences. Our advantages are that we work with passion and we want our clients to feel relaxed and happy while we take care of all their needs. Also working in the luxury sector, there are chances you know something about branding. You know how important it is for the brand to know its customer inside and out, and to use this knowledge to continue building and selling products or services that create a meaningful experience for those indulging in aspirational lifestyle. There are many advantages to this activity and this is practically what I wanted when I decided to give up my life as a player and then as a tennis coach. The advantages are following:
- This company creates a very good availability when it comes to where I am, the time I have or must dedicate to the company and then the way I need to work.
- I can work from anywhere in the world, I don’t need to be at an office every day.
- There is no specific work schedule, everything depends on the clients and the time I want to dedicate to the company.
- The people I deal with are generally very serious people with values in life, punctual, modest and it is exceptional to be able to work with and for such people.
- I do not travel as much as when I was a tennis player, which means that I have more time to stay at home, with family, friends and then when traveling only stay for a few days as necessary. During these trips, I can combine the job and the pleasure of being able to visit or even to relax a few extra days in the place if I wish.
- I attend many international events where I know a lot of the new world and where it is really a pleasure to be able to attend such events, like the Oscars, the Cannes Film Festival and many other important events in the luxury world.
- The winnings are tailored to the services provided, these are luxury services at a very high level and, of course, the winnings are very good.
- The most important advantages are that I can have, over time, good incomes, happiness, a good quality of life and do not have to depend on anyone, doing what I like.
LLA: What difficulties did you face in managing your own company?
CB: As for the difficulties, I can say that there is no fear. As in any business, there are better or worse times and more pretentious or less pretentious clients, otherwise, everything is normal and under control. There are also some surprises that you do not expect, but you must always be prepared, and there is an immediate alternative. The most difficult demands that I remember at the moment were:
- Organizing a romantic dinner in the desert.
- When organizing a private party on a yacht, the client wanted to bring from the country of origin certain food and drink products on that day, and it was necessary to get in touch with those in the respective country and send them with a private plane to arrive in the shortest time by the start of the party.
- Organizing a private event where the client wanted to have dinner with a celebrity.
- Obtaining a very important work of art and exclusive gifts from a limited edition in the world.
- Hiring in a luxury villa for a few days, with one of the most famous Michelin-starred Chefs in the world.
LLA: Your Company offers concierge services worldwide. How did you manage to create this wide network of specialists in different countries around the globe?
CB: First of all, the idea of this company is to be very exclusive and personal tailor-made, where we prefer to have a small number of clients but with very high demands. In general, I am the basic person who personally deals with all clients and members of the company. Many of these clients want me to personally take care of their services.
The rest members of the team are very well prepared and with a lot of experience in the field of Concierge services. They are located in different countries of the world, having a very presentable and elegant appearance and with great notions in communicating with clients. We have partnerships in all areas and for all the services we offer worldwide. As suppliers, we always use the same companies with whom we have contracts signed by the partnership and which we have been working with for many years, being trustworthy and known internationally as the best ones in their field. Our worldwide network will ensure that we can offer them what they like during the specified time. In each of the services we offer, we have a very professional team where we can take care of all the needs of our clients.
LLA: What traits do you value most in the employees of Excellence VIP Services?
CB: The team must have the following necessary values:
- A flawless and elegant image.
- To know different foreign languages.
- Be punctual and orderly.
- Have their conversations with clients be clear and strict about what we offer.
- Be sure and know exactly what is being proposed and promised the clients to avoid misunderstandings.
- Be polite, know our working system very well, and have notions about each service we offer.
- To listen and to note very carefully the requirements of the clients in order to fulfill their needs as they wish.
- Professionalism and perfectionism are very important in Concierge services because mistakes cannot be admitted.
- Professionalism is seen when a client is satisfied with your services and recommends you further.
LLA: Managing a company that saves other people’s time requires a high degree of self-organization. How do you manage to maintain a high pace of life?
CB: I can say that I control the pressure very well. From a quite early age, tennis helped me a lot to mature, it is an individual sport where you have to handle yourself on the field, to seek solutions at any time, and make your own decisions. It helps you to have great confidence in yourself in the future and rely heavily on your powers when needed. The pressure becomes like a routine, and you don’t feel it anymore. Also, there are different periods of the year, when it is more demanding but with the experience over the years and now I can manage very well the pace of my life.
LLA: Could you tell us about the most extravagant requests from your clients?
CB: I will give only three examples of the most extravagant demands we have had and organized for clients.
- A couple who wanted to live a unique, special experience and where he was going to ask her to marry him. Then we proposed a space trip to them. The ship is intended for commercial and leisure trips and can reach a distance of 34 kilometers from the earth’s surface, in a journey that lasts about six hours. The ship has a capacity of four passengers and two crew members. Of course, the lady accepted the engagement ring and the service was very satisfactory and everything went well.
- Another client who loves sports, in general, asked us if we can organize a dinner with each star from several different sports. So far I have organized these private dinners with players from Football, Tennis, Basketball, a Formula 1 rider and MotoGP rider. We regularly deal with tickets and VIP access to international sports events for this client.
- In this case, it is a very well-known company on an international level, which I cannot give its name for reasons of confidentiality and it is a private corporate event. Here we were asked for some very exclusive services. We had to rent a castle where we organized the party in a Gatsby style. We had to invite famous artists, politicians, businessmen, celebrities from the royal houses and many other celebrities that took place at this event. For entertainment, it was necessary to bring part of the group Cirque Du Soleil and some famous singers. For charity, it was necessary to organize a section with art and jewelry items, where the proceeds for these objects were destined for an international foundation.
LLA: Excellence VIP Services became the winner of Luxury Lifestyle Awards as one of the best luxury concierge services in Europe. In your opinion, what is the main reason for this success?
CB: When the demands become herculean in size and when expectations are also met, finding professionals to trust, anticipating your needs, understanding your desires, and implicitly exceeding your expectations, can become extremely difficult. Once you enter this world, a Concierge will save your time and become a five-star private confidant. Since the 2000s, there has been a tendency to develop this high-end service, which has a limited duration. Whether for a month, a year, or more, the “a la carte” Concierge services are varied, and the privileges unimaginable. These services are intended for a privileged customer, for whom they receive quality and exclusivity. There are two main reasons for the success of concierge-type businesses: growing consumer expectations for luxury services and personalizing services based on personal expectations, as well as expanding the customer base.
When you are available to customers from all over the world, you cannot get bored. You come in contact with some of the most demanding clients who have to satisfy the requirements, sometimes exaggerated, all in order to maintain a reputation in the field. In Concierge type services, there is no “I can’t”! The Concierge Company Excellence VIP Services responds to any requirement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Through the varied range of exclusive services, the clients live the life they dreamed of, lacking the chore of the preparations or the stress related to organizing the vacation.
Whether it is a private flight by plane or helicopter, luxury villa rental, limousine transfers or luxury yacht rentals with all the services included, everything is possible with the help of the concierge of Excellence VIP Services. Our mission is not only to make the impossible possible but also to assist throughout the whole life in resolving any problem or seemingly minor detail: protection of goods, maritime security, closely following people, risk analysis, personal shopper or personal trainer, and many other exclusive services.
LLA: What would you advise to young entrepreneurs who are just taking the first steps in the field of concierge services?
CB: I would give a few tips in a general way:
Challenge – it is the biggest motivation to continue your challenges and where you can learn many things every day.
Work with what interests you and what you want. There is no doubt that running a business takes a long time, but the only way to be satisfied in life is to do a business in which you truly believe.
Take the risk.
Have a vision for what you need to live your life.
Look for good people around you.
Face your fears.
Take action when needed.
Know your goals.
Learn from mistakes.
Spend the winnings wisely.
For Concierge Services:
Concierge service providers are trained professionals, often with years of experience and well-developed industry network relationships. The advantage of this vast vault of local knowledge is that concierges can handle an ever-increasing range of services from mundane tasks such as restaurant reservations, to extraordinary requests such as arranging a private jet to compensate for a missed flight.