Marriott’s Renaissance Hotels are doing away with the traditional concierge in favor of a more web-savvy substitute. Launched last May, the Navigator program aims to take concierge services social.
At the core of the program is a network of brand-ambassadors (i.e. “Navigators”) who curate crowd-sourced local tips (submitted via Instagram and/or an #RDiscovery hashtag) on food/drink, entertainment, shopping, etc. The program replaces the stodgy concierge’s counter with a comfortably appointed desk at which you can speak with the hotel’s Navigator – Tips can also be accessed online or through the mobile app.
The program is supported by a site re-design, global digital and print, as well as limited promotions on app downloads.
Why I’m Curious?
Upon first reading about this initiative, I asked myself why not simply integrate Yelp into their existing concierge services…?
Functionally, this would offer customers more or less the same thing – Crowdsourced, local recommendations filtered through the discerning tastes of a Marriott Renaissance employee.
In owning the initiative from the ground-up, the brand is committing itself in a way that a younger, edgier target audience respects. Navigators offer up tips and perspectives that are, on all levels, products of the brand’s own cultural awareness, local knowledge, and taste, rather than in some way qualified by another brand’s involvement.
While the program, and the hip/tastemaker perception it seems aimed at cultivating, ultimately relies on the quality of the recommendations, it’s refreshing to see an established brand like Marriott make such a bold move.