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Renaissance Hotels Replaced Concierge with “Navigator”

According to Barbara De Lollis at USA Today, guests will no longer find a Concierge Desk in Marriott’s 140 Renaissance properties. Instead, guests may sit down on a comfortable chair and chat with the hotel’s Navigators. Similar to Concierge staff, a Navigator is supposed to know the inside-out of a city and make recommendations based on his/her “personal experience, knowledge and research.”A Navigator could be the hotel’s former concierge, a Front Desk agent, or a restaurant manager. Then, how is a Navigator different from a Concierge?

The location and settings are different. A Navigator at the Renaissance’s Time Square location, for example, is located on the second floor near the restaurant entrance. Around the Navigator Desk are some “comfortable couches, TVs, chairs and chess boards.” Renaissance also has a Navigator app for mobile devices, including smart phones and tablet computers (free if using the code “intheknow” before February or for a cost of $4.99). Another difference is staffing. A Front Desk clerk or a manager who knows a city well and has good interpersonal guest service skills may also serve as a hotel’s Navigator.

Renaissance is one of the Marriott’s boutique-inspired brands (other than Edition and Autograph). I see Navigator fits well in the boutique hotel concept because it gives guests a cozy feel and promotes more interactions between guests and hotel staff. When hotels are introducing a new concept (i.e. boutique hotels) or implementing technology in operations, staffing and organizational structure may also need to evolve with the changes. What new concepts do you see in hotels or restaurants? What impacts do these new trends bring to operations?

References:
Picture was downloaded from Marriott.com (Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel) via: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok01142011P

Comments

  1. While I'm sure this is a more efficient way to consolidate job positions and run the establishment more effectively, I'm not completely sold on the idea because I believe it is contributing to the growing trend of replacing human work with a computer. For now, they still have a human to speak with and get information from; but with the mobile app (which is definitely very convenient), I think it is only a matter of time before the navigator is no longer a job position. Furthermore, not only will a computer replace many of these duties, but for those hotel guests who would still rather speak to a human, it will require front desk personnel to get more training/also be able to take on many of the roles of the former navigator. While I strongly support technology and progress, hotels are essential in the hospitality business, and I believe hospitality means getting personal attention and having human interaction. Of course a phone or computer can tell you where to go and give you reviews, but nothing can beat having a navigator or concierge tell you about their favorite dish at their favorite restaurant and give you recommendations that come from the heart; not just data in their brain. I just hope this doesn't transform more than just the Renaissance because if it goes too far, hospitality and human resources could be dying industries.

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