Accor to open 1,000 new hotels in 5 years
Paris, July 7, 2013
Accor, a leading international hotel operator with over 4,400 hotels and 145,000 employees in 90 countries, has unveiled an ambitious plan for its midscale non-standardized brand Mercure.
Announcing this on Sunday, Accor CEO Yann Caillère said: "Mercure is the world’s second largest hotel chain in its segment with 732 hotels in 50 countries. The brand is enjoying sustained expansion with an average of one opening per week and over 15,000 new rooms between 2011 and 2012."
According to Caillère, the brand unveils its vision of midscale hotels and its answers to new guest expectations in this segment. It introduces its new approach to guest welcome, revisited cuisine concepts, dedicated offer for business customers on the move, robust commitment to quality and more refurbishments.
"Mercure alone accounted for 21 per cent of rooms opened by Accor in 2012," he added.
The hospitality group chief pointed out that Mercure was essential for the group’s expansion particularly driven through franchises and managed hotels.
"The brand is now opening a new page in its history. Thanks to the work carried out in partnership with our franchisees and to its powerful distribution, Mercure is increasing its attraction for hoteliers and guests alike and injecting new impetus, modernity and innovation into midscale hotels," he remarked.
Caillère pointed out that Mercure was a strong brand, buoyed by expansion through franchises and reinforced distribution.
"Network growth (over 75 per cent through franchises and management contracts) was mostly achieved by converting existing hotels and focuses on reinforcing Mercure’s leadership position in its key markets France (232 hotels), Germany (112 hotels) and the UK (73 hotels), expanding in Brazil (64 hotels) and Australia (63 hotels) and setting up in two new countries every year, he added.
Mercure established footholds in Russia and South Korea in 2012 and this year it will debut at Turkey and Sweden. "The brand plans to open 53 new hotels in 2013," said Caillère.
Unveiling its ambitious plan, Christophe Alaux, the COO of Mercure & MGallery Europe said, "To meet our objective of 1,000 hotels within five years, we will expand mostly through franchises."
"Independent hoteliers make up 70 per cent of the midscale hotel segment. They are looking for sector expertise, particularly to handle the hotel digital revolution. Mercure places relations with franchisees at the heart of its brand governance and that makes it a benchmark franchisor," stated Alaux.
According to him, Mercure’s strength lies in the power of its loyalty and distribution system and in the development of multi-channel digital devices (mobile application, Facebook page and websites in nine languages and 26 local versions).
"Online booking represents 30 per cent of the brand’s turnover," he added.
Frédéric Fontaine, the senior VP (Marketing) Mercure and MGallery said midscale hotels are caught between rapidly modernizing economy hotels on the one hand and the upscale hotel experience on the other.
"The growing demand for a more authentic, friendly and diverse offer in this segment is an opportunity for Mercure. It has incited us to develop a demanding roadmap that breaks with the segment’s traditional codes and differentiates us long term."
"Mercure is abandoning the practical, logical, best-value-for-money model and adopting a much more “emotional” approach to that fosters “harmony between places and people," stated Fontaine.
Mercure has revamped its guest welcome experience with a new lobby design, said a statement from Accor.
The traditionally practical and impersonal reception area is transformed into a friendly, social space. Mercure has worked for seven months on redesigning the lobby with design agency W&Cie and the result is a concept that is unprecedented in midscale hotels.
The reception desk, which formed a barrier between the teams and the guests, is replaced with an approach based on friendlier, easier interaction. The receptionist is now a “host” who invites customers to the “host table” or to one of the comfortable lobby spaces that “feel like home” and include the bar and the restaurant.
The use of digital tablets enables rapid check-in and fosters dialogue, interaction and friendliness between the hotelier and the guest. This concept, which has been successfully implemented at the Mercure London Bridge since April, will be rolled out in five other hotels by the end of 2013, it added.
Mercure’s Food & Beverage service too has been redesigned to blend modernity with tradition. It features “Cave et Saveurs”, a new wine menu that showcases local vintages (in partnership with the Bettane & Desseauve wine guide in France), said the statement.-TradeArabia News Service