Xavier Guillemin, Executive Director Association, Sport & Entertainment Worldwide Market at AccorHotels, explains how the hotel chain can be more than a supplier to associations.
How does AccorHotels cater specifically to European and international associations?
As one of the leading groups in the hotel industry, AccorHotels can meet all the needs with over 4,200 hotels from economic to luxury located in 95 countries. Within this network, we have a dedicated offer for associations where they can organize their entire event including meeting space, food & beverage and accommodation. Thanks to this network and also to the congress expertise we have developed in our hotels, associations will have the chance to sign one contract for one event organized in a one-stop venue.
We heard that AccorHotels has put a kind of association education scheme for their hotels. Can you elaborate extensively on this? Because we think it’s rather unique.
Indeed, and this has been deployed at a worldwide level.
But let me tell this story from the beginning. As we received several complains from associations working with hotels, we realized that many hotels the world over were not able to differentiate a corporate meeting from an association congress. With the help of clients, hotels and destinations, we thus decided to create an Internal Congress Charter that highlights the essential business principles of working with associations. This charter’s aim is to ‘educate’ 310 hotels selected on their capacity to host congresses. We asked all these hotels to commit to the Charter for 2017 and 2018.
It takes the form of a simple and short document of 6 pages. It includes key features such as a description of and the challenges faced by a non-for-profit organization. We cover also long term business opportunities management and why hotels must think ‘destination first’ by working together with convention bureaus.
Thanks to this process, we estimate that more than 1,100 colleagues have been trained to the specificities of the association market.
In addition, based on the content of this Charter, we developed 11 AccorHotels’ commitments towards the association market and created the “Success in Congress” campaign.
Any infrastructure development you’d like to share with the readers of Boardroom?
AccorHotels is a worldwide group in constant evolution as we need to grow and diversify our activities in order to anticipate market evolutions. In 2016, we had one hotel opening every 36 hours. In order to enrich our portfolio, we acquired last year all hotels from Fairmont, Raffles & Swissôtel and more recently we developed strategic partnerships with Rixos and Banyan Tree.
As of today, in the ICCA Top 10 cities, we already have 45 hotels with large meeting capacity ready to host congresses.
The last opening was in early October 2017, in Seoul, South Korea, with a huge complex that includes 4 hotels (Novotel, Suites Novotel, Ibis Styles, and Grand Mercure) with 1,700 rooms and huge meeting capacity.
Moreover, our flagship Pullman Paris Montparnasse is going through a full renovation plan and will reopen in 2019 with more than 900 rooms and spectacular meeting spaces.
Picture: Seoul Dragon City © Kim Dae Ik