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Hotel conversion brands should be approached with caution, says senior Accor exec

Hotel conversion brands should be approached with caution, says senior Accor exec

Conversion brands must be approached with caution, Accor’s SVP of development luxury hotels in EMEA, Francois Baudin said on the growing trend. Accor is meanwhile considering its own collection brand. At AHIC this year, Rotana has discussed the potential of its own conversion brand. While conversions have been around already, there seems to be a trend for

Conversion brands must be approached with caution, Accor’s SVP of development luxury hotels in EMEA, Francois Baudin said on the growing trend. Accor is meanwhile considering its own collection brand.

At AHIC this year, Rotana has discussed the potential of its own conversion brand. While conversions have been around already, there seems to be a trend for global operators launching new collections dedicated to bringing in independent properties.

For independent hoteliers, the chance to join a global operator gives them a vast network of sales and marketing channels, as well as access to loyalty customers. For global operators, it presents an opportunity to quickly expand into new locations and diversify the portfolio, as IHG intends with its Vignette Collection.

Why the Middle East is a ‘laboratory for luxury offerings’, said Accor heads

Accor has seen a wave of luxury signings and openings in the region, including the openings of Raffles on Dubai’s Palm, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Baudin told Arabian Business’s sister publication Hotelier Middle East during AHIC 2021: “A big challenge of conversion brands though is understanding where it sits. There’s a trend where the categories of hotels put into these collection or conversion brands are too broad. They could cover boutique hotels, large hotels, luxury and everything in between.

“If Accor goes down this route then, we need to add a proposition so our owners aren’t confused. If it’s a luxury brand, it will be in a collection for that. We need to be consistent in that, and it’s a challenge the industry is facing.

“It’s not something you want to spread everywhere. You need to be extremely cautious. You need to be consistent with any brand you create. Whatever we come up with, it will have the same approach to all existing brands.”

Hotel conversions happening too quickly

He added: “I think competitors are moving too fast on this. Developers are focused on getting deals done, and there are incentives to boost your rooms, but for us, we must create value for guests and owners. It’s all too easy to go into a hotel and put your flag there. It could be the wrong branding, the wrong location, so you need to remain focused and take your time.”

Francois Baudin, Accor’s SVP of development luxury hotels in EMEA.

Accor considers collection brand

The group’s chief development officer said to Hotelier Accor is considering a collection brand akin to those recently launched by the likes of Wyndham, IHG and Radisson.

“We have conversion brands ourselves, such as Ibis Styles, Movenpick and Mercure, so we’re already very strong there. On top of that, our MGallery is a premium-level collection brand. It is true we are working on a larger collection brand. We think that in markets we’re already present, there’s a push from owners for these collection brands that offer something to the independent hotels,” revealed Agnès Roquefort.

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