Buzz is back

Buzz is back

It is good to get the New Year rolling. Back to business means more news for us reporters to interpret, the considerable ramping up of hotel deals (it will be a much bigger year for transaction ? and perhaps some larger portfolio moves) as well as the launch of even more concepts and operational ideas. Call me old fashioned, but while some of these ideas actually seem worthwhile, many more read like attempts to mask deficiencies or an overzealous marketing department justifying their keep.

One of the items seemingly creating the biggest buzz in the media last week was Marriott?s announcement that they are replacing concierges at its Renaissance brand with ?Navigators? who are in the known and can offer insider, local information. Marriott has long been trying to make Renaissance its hip brand and this is its latest application.

The immediate online reactions I read to the Navigator were not very positive, ranging from plain skeptical to contrived. Honestly, while I am all for breaking down barriers and evolution, applying services like this are always fraught with issues and often leads to alienation more than loyalty.

I will give Marriott points for trying something that is personal and delivers an actual face-to-face touch point as I just can?t embrace all of these technology-based services surrounding social media, ?checking-in,? iPads and other such mobile devices. While I use mobile technology all the time, when it comes to service I still prefer a more personal approach. Please, don?t forget about those of us over 40 who don?t live and breathe technology 24/7.

What do you think readers? Are we getting carried away with new-fangled attempts to deliver service, or do you like more traditional service innovations.