Home' Hotel Management : HM APRIL 2015 Contents It’s a matter of
engaging and spending
time with your client and
then they have the sense
of belonging and are
thanked for being there.
It’s obviously then a
very powerful tool
for your development
teams around the
world to go to an
unbranded hotel and
say “come and join
Accor”, isn’t it?
We have been growing at
one hotel every two days
and we can probably do a
bit better than this, which
includes exactly what
you said. Accor should
be a company where the
independent owner or
operator should feel at
home and welcome if they want to join the distribution system and take
one of our brands. We are going to be friends with as many people as we
can – we have been in 93 countries and [have been around for] 45 years and
we are there to stay and there to be a local [player] in the local country. We
You are seeing phenomenal growth in Australia and while you
took over Mirvac a few years ago, since then the development
team has really been growing your brands like no tomorrow.
You have to be proud of it like I am. We have two home countries and
they happen to be France and Australia. We have been there for 40
years and we believe Australia is home for us. We have over a couple
hundred hotels in Australia, which is a third of Asia-Pacific and we want
to grow in Australia as much as we want to grow in New Zealand. We
love that market, we feel comfortable there; it’s run by Australian people
and we insert ourselves into the culture, so yes indeed, we are going to
try to make sure that we have market leadership and we are going to be
strengthening the market leadership in Australia to the benefit of the
Australian and international travellers coming to Australia.
And that’s what we are seeing with brands as well - there are
a lot of Australian influences. Grand Mercure and The Sebel
were Australian brands, the Pullman Sydney Olympic Park
was one of the first in the world and now were are seeing them
around the world, especially in China where you’ve just done a
big deal. Tell us about that.
We did the deal in China with one of the leading operators [with
Huazhu Hotels Group, the fastest-growing hotel group in China, with
a portfolio of over 1,900 hotels] that did not exist 10 years ago. It’s a
vital market for all operators to be in because also of Chinese travellers
travelling abroad and I want to stay in China, but I don’t want to fit with
the local operators because they have more [coming up] than what we do.
So we decided to partner with one of them, hopefully it’s the right one
and I’m convinced it is, and basically to go with them in developing ibis,
Novotel, Mercure, and Pullman with them and it ’s a win-win scenario.
Earlier on stage [at IHIF], Airbnb was discussed. What level of
impact are you expecting new technology-based players like
this to have on the market?
Airbnb is here to stay, there to grow and I wish we would have invented
Airbnb five years ago. Which is why I’m actually so keen on digital.
Airbnb is a fabulous
model, they are
increasing the number of
which means we need
somehow to talk to [those
travellers], which we are.
We’re not competing
with them, [but] we need
to align ourselves because
at the end of the day, it’s
the same customer that ’s
18 years old and going to
Airbnb today and when
they are 28 years old,
likely coming to one of
the Accor hotels.
Still on technology
and one of your first
your new role was
putting an importance
on technology for the
company. How important is it to keep evolving, especially in
Asia-Pacific where everyone is to tech-savvy now?
Technology will make the difference between the last decade’s winners
and the winners of tomorrow. And I guarantee the leaders of yesterday
will not be the winners of tomorrow if they don’t adapt to technology.
Technology is today data driven, and technology driven, so anything
to do with the guest has to now be through technology. So, my belief is
any decisions the group is going to be making for the next decade is going
to be ‘guest top of mind data driven’ and no longer ‘brand concept driven’.
We do need to defend the brand and defend the concepts, but that is
indispensible and that will not be the turning point in the next 20 years.
The turning point is ‘how do you get closer and closer to your
customer well before they come into your hotel and well after they leave
Across the board can we ask for your outlook for 2015?
We are going to be fine in Europe – and 70 per cent of Accor is Europe
but it is not going to be incredibly good. It is however going to be very
good in the Middle East and Africa, and very good in Latin America, but
difficult in Brazil. It is very good in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines,
but a bit tough in India. It is tough in China.
So, a mix of things, but I’m a happy guy because we are going to be
able to grow the top line numbers, but that won’t be sufficient to grow my
operating numbers. Which is why I said we need to continue the next two
years of the transformation – and the transformation alone will provide me
with the majority of my operating performance growth in the next couple
of years, but I’m going to be very loose on where the market is going. ■
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“ We have over a couple hundred hotels in Australia,
which is a third of Asia-Pacific and we want to grow in
Australia as much as we want to grow in New Zealand.”
ACCOR’S CHAIRMAN AND CEO,
Set to debut in 2017: Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
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