Corporate global hotel chains are rarely known for a commitment to providing their customers with local knowledge but in recent years, the tides have begun to turn. We’ve reported before on Le Meridien Hub, Starwood Hotel’s idea series curated by urban theorist Richard Florida where the lobby of selected urban cities provide a physical space for guests to experience native culture.
Around the same time, Marriott’s Rennaissance Hotels began breathing new life into the concept of the hotel concierge by creating the Navigator program launched in May of 2012, they began engaging directly with locals and customers. Back in October, they launched a crowd sourced initiative launched via Twitter and Instagram using #RDiscovery resulting in a robust database of the best go-to spots for food, services, shopping and hanging out. This month it goes live inside hotel locations to further promote the program and inspire locals to show off their recommendations. By placing these ‘Navigators’ aka brand ambassadors at the center of the action, Marriott has removed the broadcast nature of online and printed guides and empowered their community to energize the information. Through their creative agency, Anomaly and the Live Life to Discover campaign, the Navigator program pushed out a digital and print ad campaign which saw their Facebook Likes rise from 40,000 to 303,000 and boosted their Twitter followers from 5,000 to 28,000 in just over 6 months.
In an efforts to revitalize their reputation with young and edgy travelers, Rennaissance is transforming the hotel concierge from a submissive counterpart to a physical presence for guests to interact with, brings the program to life. Each lead navigator is profiled online so that guests can know exactly who to connect with when they arrive on the ground. This is subjective navigation, based on their own personal experience, allowing each guest to get to know the informant and even ‘interview’ them for further details in person.