Magazine article ADWEEK

Marriott Chain Adds Some Local Flavor: Renaissance Hotels Goes Native, Calling on Neighborhood Tipsters to Enhance Its Navigator Online Concierge Service

Magazine article ADWEEK

Marriott Chain Adds Some Local Flavor: Renaissance Hotels Goes Native, Calling on Neighborhood Tipsters to Enhance Its Navigator Online Concierge Service

Article excerpt

Is Marriott's Renaissance Hotels trying to be the next Yelp? To increase its social quotient, the hotel chain is letting locals participate in its Navigator program, Renaissance's take on the hotel concierge. Tipsters who are so inclined can add their favorite haunts to the hotel's online database of restaurants, services, stores and entertainment culled by hotel-trained ambassadors, who are called navigators.

Launched in May, the Navigator program aims to turn the concierge into a high-profile, social-savvy brand ambassador who gives a human face to each hotel property.

In October, the public was invited to post their local V suggestions on Twitter and Instagram via #Rdiscovery. Hundreds of tips have been posted so far, and this month the company will begin running promotions inside the hotels themselves to encourage more participation. Navigators will highlight some alongside their own tips, said Dan Vinh, vp, global marketing. "We realize many people like to be in the know, and they want to share our soapbox to a global audience."

Most other lifestyle hotel chains give only general listings about the local area on their sites and social media. But Marriott has learned that putting personal favorites from locals online makes the content easily sharable and spreads the brand's message of discovery across social media.

"Initially, we picked navigators because they are really excited about their city and want to show it off," said Amy Sherman, vp of digital. …

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