It is always very impressive when a startup company, especially in the dog-eat-dog world of New York City, is able to exponentially expand and grow in a very short time. Even better is when the company’s concept and mission is so unbelievably fantastic that you really have a hard time believing that someone hasn’t snatched up this idea before. This time around, the company at hand that has done all of this is Manhattan based SELECT, which is an amazing service that makes you, the customer, feel VIP all the way with them connecting you to the best of the best in lifestyle in the greatest city in the world and beyond.
I became aware of SELECT roughly a year and a half ago while perusing new material for Manhattan Digest, and was able to profile them after initial contact. At that time, they were still getting their feet wet with what has now become a great concept of VIP access to the best events, food, nightlife, hotels and so much more for your everyday Manhattanite. Since then, the company has developed some very exciting advancements, including your own concierge, expansion into other cities on the East Coast, and so much more. We caught up with their amazing founder Carlo Cisco to discuss all of this and so much more.
What has been the most major update with SELECT since the last time we spoke?
The first thing is the geographic expansion. SELECT has started to really hit that fever pitch, we have a ton of members saying, I love my card, but I also travel to this city, and that city, and here, and I want to use my card at all those places too. We’re now live in New York, DC, and Miami, but we will also be expanding to the west coast later this year.
Additionally, we introduced our mobile text-based member concierge this past summer. This enables our members to request on-the-go reservations and recommendations from our in-the-know concierge staff instantly via the app. The concierge team spans all markets we operate in and can leverage market insights and member preferences to recommend the best experiences in each city.
In the first few months, our concierge team handled thousands of requests. We’re handling big company volume at startup speed. Monthly requests are seeing consistent double-digit growth with December and January marking record months.
What types of requests does the concierge handle?
Typically members use the concierge to book a reservation with a partner restaurant or to get recommendations for things to do in their city. Our concierges can recommend a romantic spot with a view, a trendy place for drinks or the hottest gallery opening in town. We also see a good number of travel and hotel recommendation requests.
What do you think is the one thing that separates SELECT from the pack?
We started SELECT, but it really evolved with and because of our Members. They drive everything we do and are the ones helping us take it to the next level. That’s the real difference with SELECT, we exist to serve our members and to elevate their lifestyle, and it reflects in everything we do. So many of our partners, the venues where SELECT members are rewarded with perks and benefits, are on the program because the members suggested them. A few times we’ve actually had members reach out to places and ask them to give us a call. We’re in a position now where we have deep industry connections that span the country, and allow us to reward our members with access and deferential perks that no one else can.
Do you have any particular favorites on SELECT that you work with, albeit restaurants, nightlife?
Honestly all the partners are pretty amazing. I’ve started using SELECT as a guide to recommend exceptional restaurants and hotels to people whether they’re a member or not. Each location I see on the list I can trust that it’s one of the best in its category. That said I do have favorites, I love Scarpetta and I’m a big fan of TAO Downtown, Bowery Meat Company and for special occasions, Bouley. In DC I recommend Zentan, Masa 14 and STK. In Miami, Dolce and Sushi Samba are my favorites. That said, there’s a lot of amazing places in all markets and that I’ve yet to try and very much look forward to.
What would you say has been your most proud or favorite moment with SELECT so far?
So, there have been a couple. January 2015 when membership applications started to explode, going from dozens to thousands –was pretty amazing. But I think the proudest moment was this summer as we integrated the concierge and a more robust CRM. This showed how much people were using the service, and that was really amazing. To see that thousands of people were benefitting from this every month is truly incredible.
Do you ever think you will have a large celebrity endorse SELECT at some point?
We’ve got some celebrities that have memberships now. Athletes like Tony Parker, supermodels like Vita Sidorkina, Dj’s like Milly Monfret and we expect the list to continue to grow, especially when we open on the West Coast.
In conclusion, what would you say is the biggest hope for SELECT moving forward?
By connecting a select group of members and brands we’re able to provide instant and unlimited access to elevated experiences and benefits that are not available anywhere else. As someone who uses the service frequently, it’s weird to go somewhere and not get hooked up. Eventually, our members will have that hookup at the places they want to go in every major global city and vacation destination. That’s through a combination of member events, benefits and the concierge.
If you join Select this week, is there anything upcoming this week where new members can get excited about?
We have some amazing member events during Fashion Week in NY, some pretty exciting events in DC and really cool things ahead in Miami. Plus, you don’t want to miss the launch parties for the next few markets.