A Fancier Favor

This exclusive service is the key to experiencing Austin like a local

This exclusive service is the key to experiencing Austin like a local

Franklin BBQ
Key Concierge crafts unique Austin experiences for travelers. Photo courtesy of Franklin Barbecue

Imagine walking into your Airbnb on the first day of vacation to a fully stocked fridge and bar with all of your favorite essentials or waking up after a night out on the town to a breakfast taco and Bloody Mary bar delivery. These are just a few of the many experiences that Key Concierge, a new app, hopes to bring Austin visitors.

Kim Shrum, founder and CEO of Key, first saw a need for this type of service when spending a summer with her family in San Francisco. “We rented a home and quickly realized we didn't know the city as well as we thought. I didn't know how or where to find things to do with my family and how to get access to the basic necessities. We wanted to live and experience the city like a local but didn't know where to start.”

As the vacation market took off, Shrum realized there was a need in the market for a service that helped travelers staying in vacation homes with basics like groceries, transportation, and reservations at restaurants — similar to the role of a classic concierge. But Shrum wanted to take it a step further. 

Key “is more than you can find on the internet,” Shrum explains of the company's curated outings and experiences, which are all designed by local “concierges” who live and work in the city. “The concierges are trusted local resources that guests have complete access to,” explains Shrum. “We often say no request is too small, too big, or too bizarre.”

Booking a weekend with Key as a visitor — or even as a local looking to plan a celebratory weekend in their own city — starts with a conversation with Key’s guest relations team. From there, a proposed itinerary is built out, and all of the information is loaded into the app so that guests can share the itinerary with friends.

Austin is one of eight markets where Key operates; other cities include Aspen, Colorado; New York; and San Francisco. Unique Austin experiences include a “BBQ + Brewery Excursion,” a “Live Music Crawl,” and “Private Wake Surf Lessons.” Like Favor, guests can also text with their concierge during the weekend with specific requests or questions.

Not surprisingly, Key comes at cost — one sample itinerary featuring a private Hill Country bike ride followed by the "BBQ + Brewery Excursion" for eight people breaks down to $280 per person.

Currently, Key is invite-only, but it's slowly making its way into the Austin market, including through a partnership with the Kimber Modern. The five-star concierge service has also partnered with Atlantic Aviation for an onsite activation during Formula 1. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing visitors having some pretty authentic Austin experiences.