BT: Tell us about the new positioning of the Renaissance brand over the past few years.
POVINELLI: Renaissance opened four new hotels in 2017 in Dubai, Atlanta, Reno and Dallas, as well as transformed more than 15 hotels worldwide to reflect the brand’s contemporary new design approach. With a footprint of 170 hotels in over 35 countries, we are poised to open 25 new hotels in 2018. Renaissance echoes and embraces each hotel’s point of view. For instance, the dramatic design and culinary offerings at Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai includes metallic art installations depicting the city landscape of Dubai and several world-acclaimed chefs that reflect the city’s prominent, bustling food scene.
BT: How does Marriott Rewards fit into the overall Renaissance guest experience?
POVINELLI: The loyalty program is the glue that holds all the brands together, and we have a lot of travelers that find a strong affinity with what Renaissance now stands for. A big differentiator for us is the loyalty program, especially the lifestyle experiences, and it helps us to capture new and existing business thanks to the sheer breadth of the Marriott Rewards portfolio. Starwood Preferred Guest members were able to link their accounts to transfer points and receive equivalent status with Marriott Rewards from day one of this merger, which was hugely popular with our members.
BT: What is the Navigator Table and how can the Navigator team benefit guests?
POVINELLI: Navigators are like hotel concierges that are in tune with the local area, but so much more. Our staff is educated to step outside of their traditional role if needed to assist guests. The Navigator Table often hosts local cultural amenities that show off the area to visitors. Several nights a week, we have our punch bowl experience providing guests with a locally infused libation to welcome them.
BT: While design and décor are the high point for Renaissance Hotels, meeting and incentives are still the bread and butter. How do you set yourself apart in that sector?
POVINELLI: Like the design aspect, our meetings component focuses on the creative and unusual. It comes across in the small details like eccentric design pieces on boardroom tables for conferees to interact with to the pads at each seat with tic-tac-toe boards and mazes to inspire creativity. We want meetings to be both productive and entertaining. There’s even an “Evenings at Renaissance” program designed to incorporate local entertainers or catering events into the programs at the hotel.
BT: Where will travelers see the biggest growth in the Renaissance pipeline?
POVINELLI: We‘re expanding across the globe. At the moment, there are more than 30 Renaissance hotels in the pipeline, the majority in the United States and Asia. Two will open in New York’s Harlem and Chelsea neighborhoods.
BT: Tell us about the Marriott Rewards special experiences available for members.
POVINELLI: Marriott Rewards and SPG members can now bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences in many cities including Dubai, Montreal, New York, Shanghai using their points for a limited time at Marriott Rewards Experiences Marketplace. One example is the recent private concert featuring Gwen Stefani at the Dubai property, which was also a part of Marriott International’s global concert series with Universal Music Group. Past performances by other top artists included Imagine Dragons and Ellie Goulding. So winning bidders enjoy unique experiences that money could not buy.