One of Renaissance Hotels’ points of difference is its Navigator concierge program, where individuals dubbed “Navigators” expose guests to hidden gems within the hotels’ local communities. For the launch of its new Discover This Way campaign promoting Navigator, the brand staged a scavenger hunt-filled evening for loyalty members, press and influencers featuring performances, local personalities and visits to neighborhood haunts surrounding the forthcoming Renaissance Hotel Harlem. The event, the hero activation for the marketing campaign, took place on Renaissance Hotels’ eighth annual Global Day of Discovery on May 16 when its 160 hotels across the globe create unexpected experiences for guests.
“Over the last three years since the merger of Marriott and Starwood, we’ve been working to reposition and refine Renaissance’s space within the 30 brands, and certainly within its competitive space. This campaign really ladders up to all of the work that has been done,” says Rebecca Rand, senior director-global brand marketing and management at Renaissance Hotels. “When our guests travel they want to feel like they’ve been able to experience the DNA of the neighborhood that they are visiting. Our Navigators are a bit outside of the traditional behind-the-desk concierge. They really connect to the neighborhood and find local gems and hidden treasurers, and are your hands-on, standalone people that can help you explore a destination.”
The campaign relies on local businesses and personalities in each hotel’s neighborhood to help Navigators curate experiences. With the Renaissance Hotel Harlem opening in 2020, the brand chose to spotlight the neighborhood through a Navigator-led series of performances and pop-up experiences over the course of an hour and a half.
More Hotel Experiences:
- Launch Events: Moxy Experiments with A.S.M.R. to Deliver a Sensory Playhouse
- How Courtyard Turned its Super Bowl Sleepover into the Ultimate Loyalty Program
Attendees first checked in at the Harlem Parish Church, where they were divided into groups and handed a map detailing the event stops. First up was local laundromat Baby Girl’s Bubbles & Cleaners, which was transformed into a shoppable fashion showroom featuring clothing from the Harlem Haberdashery boutique. While shopping, guests enjoyed a performance of the song “Just a Friend” by Harlem rapper Biz Markie.
Next, comedian Nicole Byer performed a comedy set at burger joint Harlem Shake, which typically hosts weekly open mic nights. Attendees then moved to a brownstone for an exhibition by graffiti artist Ces featuring tagged traditional hotel items, from house plants to clothing to mirrors. The Harlem Parish Church, which functions today as an event space, provided the evening’s final moment: a live performance from singer-songwriter Judith Hill and ballet hip-hop group Hiplet.
Along the journey, attendees encountered pop-up moments, including a performance from a jazz musician, an iconic Harlem food truck and a dance performance from Virgil Dey and his crew, The Ruggeds, all while Navigators told stories and shared information about the neighborhood.
In addition to the Harlem activation, a handful of other locations created notable experiences for guests on Global Day. All six Renaissance Hotels properties in Paris led attendees to a secret local art gallery in a neighborhood café. Guests of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel received a tour of local street art and neon night markets. And the Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai led guests throughout the city’s arts district to witness the neighborhood’s unique blend of global cultures.
The overall goal is to leverage partner relationships in the hotels’ neighborhoods for future experiences. “Our hope is that through these relationships we can continue to extend some type of experience with them once the hotel is up and running. This is the stepping stone for that,” Rand says. Agencies: Mosaic, Chicago; Venables Bell + Partners, San Francisco.