Accor starts the year with good news for Latin America
The French hotel chain continues to add properties and is committed to franchises, residences and coworking by 2022
Accor started the year with good news, the firm continues to grow in Latin America at a good pace. To find out the details, we exclusively interviewed its CEO Thomas Dubaere. We share his responses below:
Starting the season, what is the vision of what has happened in 2021?
As the local restrictions on movement were released, the scenario also began to change, because domestic tourism was resumed, reinforced by the government's "Pre-Trip" plan to encourage reactivation.
They have been difficult years for Argentina. In order to attract investment and achieve reactivation in the hotel industry, as in any other business, it is necessary to have stability in prices, exchange rates and inflation, but we are already seeing an upturn in tourism, both for the holiday period, as well as for the rebound in the arrival of foreigners, especially from Brazil.
What are the goals you have set for 2022?
By 2022, Accor plans to open another 25 hotels in South America, 17 in Brazil and 8 in Hispanic countries, in addition to accelerating new contracts in the franchise model. Countries such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru, in addition to Brazil, continue to be targeted for the company's expansion, either through conversions or greenfield.
What markets are most important to you right now and how has that demand migrated due to the pandemic?
Today the main markets for Hispanic countries are Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Peru, in addition to Brazil as a large sending and receiving market.
The demand due to the pandemic was concentrated in domestic tourism, recently interregional tourism in South America is being reactivated.
What is your vision regarding sales traction in your different commercial channels?
Increasingly, Accor is investing more in digital channels, because more than 70% of reservations are arriving less than 7 days in advance. That implies last minute reservations through digital channels and social networks.
In addition, we are working on activations in the hotels' own channels and in their cities, due to the strong interest in domestic tourism. Another of our strategies is that we are making the most of promotional periods, for example, on our last Black Friday, we sold 49% more than in 2019 (+53% on our website) and approximately 50% of sales were for stays in 2022.
We are also focused on promoting ALL-Accor Live Limitless, our loyalty program and reservation ecosystem that has a good presence in Argentina, especially now with the visibility we have under the auspices of PSG. In 2021 we had a record in the volume of points transferred from partners to ALL, 85% higher than the previous year.
In our last Black Friday of 2021 we saw that 72% of accesses were made through mobile phones, either through the web or our App. This shows that today online sales channels are consolidated.
How is the daily work to compete in markets as complex as those of Latin America?
We are always closely watching consumer behavior. Currently, for example, we see how customers mix work with pleasure in this trend that we call "Bleisure", which allows them to enjoy and take advantage of their time alone or with family at the destination, while having all the advantages of connectivity for to work.
We are also constantly creating products for local destinations, considering that South America has a current behavior of domestic travelers.
Along these lines, we are launching WOJO, Accor's free Co-working, and strengthening our food and beverage offer in restaurants and bars, all with the aim of attracting the local community that surrounds our hotels.
Finally, we are promoting ALL SAFE, our health protocols certified by Burea Veritas, so that guests feel safe and confident in all our services.
What initiatives are you going to implement in the coming months to expand demand in the region?
At the group level, the main innovation will be the arrival of WOJO, Accor's co-working in Hispanic countries, so we seek to get closer to the local community, with a free service that will have different products according to customer needs.