AccorHotels touts local services in ongoing diversification strategy

AccorHotels boss Sebastien Bazin wants to use the 4,100 hotels in the group to provide local services to people living in the surrounding neighbourhoods.

He has been looking at the group’s capital and labour intensive business, with some 240,000 staff, and comparing it to capital and labor light businesses such Airbnb and Uber and inevitably, their market capitalisations.

Bazin has been thinking how he can leverage those addresses and people and “transform that weakness into a strength” by marrying the physical and digital worlds.

This is about further diversification of the business outside hotels, which has already seen it make strategic investments in Oasis and Squarebreak a year ago and acquire OneFineStay last April.

Enter, Accor Local – where properties, particularly those with high footfall, could help fill in gaps in local services such as dry cleaners, luggage storage, food and beverage and key pick-up.

For example, a local resident can’t make it to pick up her suit from the dry cleaners so the dry cleaner leaves it with the hotel and sends her a text to inform her.

Through these sorts of services, the company could interact with people far more often than the current three or four times a year they might stay in an Accor property.

Bazin says:

“I have absolutely to ensure that this group leverages interaction with its customer more than three, five times.

“I have to enter your daily life, what can I do for you when you’re not traveling, what can I do for you when you’re not traveling with me even if you are going to Marriott or Airbnb and if you’re visiting your granny?

“You want a number of services when you travel. Why can’t I give you these services even though you’re not in an Novotel, Pullman, Raffles hotel? What does it matter?

“Since I have 240,000 people, I can meet your needs. I have John Paul with a digital concierge. I can interact with you, not necessarily physically.

The company has begun to explore the Local concept via a test with 10 properties across its brands in Paris and got the hotel managers involved to see how much they knew about local service providers.

This is also where John Paul comes in – the virtual concierge and loyalty business that AccorHotels acquired 80% in last July.

Bazin believes this is a new strand to the group that could grow in revenue 20 to 30% a year compared to the core business which is growing 3 to 5% a year.

He was speaking as the group unveiled its financial results for 2016 as well as an update on strategy.

He sees the concept of Accor Local as a third vertical for the group, alongside hotels and property rentals, with all three tied together through customer relationship management and sharing the same loyalty scheme and database.

“For our travelers, for our personnel, for our future resting in our rental rooms, with John Paul in the digital world, we are capable of providing all these services to people in their daily lives.

“So this is enriching our database of the various, very, very numerous people that need these services throughout the world.”

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About the Writer :: Linda Fox

Linda worked at tnooz from September 2011 to June 2018 in roles including senior reporter, deputy editor and managing editor.



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