A new ‘Sweet Bed’, new uniforms, new signage and – in the future – new lobby and restaurant designs are part of a radical overhaul of Accor’s pioneering economy hotel brand, Ibis.
The launch of the Sweet Bed is to the evolution of the Ibis brand, which will become a triple-tier brand from next month adding Ibis Budget (from the current Formule 1 brand) and Ibis Styles (from the former All Seasons brand) to the existing Ibis hotel network.
Following the re-brand of the hotels, Ibis will grow to over 70 hotels in Australia and 1600 worldwide, making it the largest global economy hotel.
The new era for Ibis comes on the 20th anniversary of the first Ibis in Australia – Ibis Melbourne. All existing and new Ibis hotels will get new signage by the end of the year, while Ibis Hotels and Ibis Budget will introduce the Sweet Bed over the next six months.
Changes to the brand followed a recent survey which showed that some 70 per cent of guests ranked comfortable beds as “the single most important factor when they choose an economy hotel”, and as a result the group consulted a team including sociologists and doctors to create a brand new bed from scratch.
The Sweet Bed being introduced into Ibis Hotels features a 7cm topper, which in the past would normally be associated with a luxury brand. The bed has been adapted to suit different geographical markets and cultures, and in Australia, Ibis Brisbane and Ibis Sydney Darling Harbour have already trialed the beds with outstanding guest reaction.
Also to be unveiled across the Australian Ibis network will be new uniforms. In an industry first, Ibis worked with renowned designer Charlie Brown and students from the Whitehouse Institute of Design to create new uniforms for each of the brands. These new uniforms will be introduced into the hotels from February 2013 and will immediately give guests a sense of something new and exciting in the hotels.
In Europe next year, a number of Ibis hotels will unveil new public area designs that are a real departure from the existing brands. The spaces will be transformed into a more open-plan style with materials and colors combined to create a warm, casual atmosphere that nurtures interaction. The first Ibis to showcase the full new global design will be Ibis Adelaide that is currently being developed in Grenfell Street. The hotel is scheduled to open in 2014.
To coincide with the overhaul of Accor’s economy portfolio, the group will launch a new-look website at www.ibis.com later this month, where guests will be able to book rooms at Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget properties in one place.
However, Accor Pacific Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath, stressed that while Accor was bringing three separate brands under the Ibis umbrella, it was not merging the brands.
“The new-look brand will highlight the shared DNA through three concepts – modernity, simplicity and well-being – while clearly differentiating the distinct offers of each separate sub-brand,” he said.
“The economy hotel sector in Australia and around the rest of the world has often been inconsistent in delivering quality facilities and service. Ibis is changing that perception with its innovation and guarantee of quality. Beds in particular will change the face of the sector, and the initial feedback from the introduction of the Sweet Bed highlights that this is the most important factor for most hotel guests. To get such a prime sleep experience for such value-for-money rates will re-define the economy hotel sector.
“The implementation of the new triple-tier segmentation will increase the clarity, consistency and strength of the three economy brands, and will enable Accor to achieve critical mass in several markets, particularly Australia and New Zealand, where Ibis will become the region’s largest economy hotel network.”