After great growth in recent months, Accor goes for more
The hotel chain adds optimism for what is to come with key openings
Despite the health crisis, Accor has continued to work hard to grow in the region at a good pace, to find out the details, during the latest edition of SAHIC, we were able to interview Abel Castro, SVP Business Development & Investor Relations, South America at the hotel chain.
What has been the highlight of participating in an event like SAHIC?
It has really been very positive to see many executives again in person because sometimes it has been very difficult to make important agreements through video calls. For this type of business conversation it is important to have personal meetings and that is what this event has allowed us to do.
In 2021 we have not been idle, we have opened 22 hotels in 5 South American countries with 3,700 new rooms. It has been a new hotel every 16 days. We signed contracts in all segments and that has been very positive, covering 9 different brands, which shows our potential for the future. Last year we totaled 14 hotel firms. Almost 50% have been conversions. In total we have 42 different flags to offer.
Were there hotel closures as a result of the pandemic in the past year?
In South America today we have 400 hotels in operation. But during the pandemic they had to close 95% of them. Only some that were strategic due to their proximity to airports and embassies remained open. Little by little they were reopened and only one remains closed today. This has logically raised a problem of human resources but it is something that is happening to the entire industry in general and at a global level.
How do they proceed in capturing property conversions?
Well, we are very active in this field, we have bought the operation of Grupo Posadas in South America, it is a total of 15 hotels. Also an important operation to highlight has been the incorporation of the BHG and Atton hotels. And we are very attentive to what is happening in the market to continue expanding our network.
What is the added value that they offer to investors so that they choose Accor?
Well, there are several, but the most important is our ALL loyalty program, which was launched 3 years ago and is increasingly recognized. In fact, today we are sponsors of Paris Saint Germain. In total we have more than 5 million members in our region.
What initiatives are you putting into practice to recover demand in the countries most affected by the pandemic?
Each country has its particular situation but as a whole in our region we have been gradually recovering demand until today having exceeded it in terms of 2019 levels. The growth curve from January 2021 to December of that same year has really been remarkable. This shows the work we have been doing and gives us great encouragement for what is to come. Where we believe that we still need to strengthen demand is in some cities that depend a lot on corporate tourism, for example in São Paulo and Lima.
What openings do you have planned for the short, medium and long term?
In 2022 we plan between 22 and 25 openings. That allows us to have a rhythm of 2 per month and we are really very satisfied. And for 2023, although we are still a little way off, we believe that we will maintain and even increase that number.