While third-party websites have made major incursions into the accommodation sector, Accor has recorded a 27.4% increase in revenue from direct channels in Australia over the past 12 months.
Utilising extensive marketing resources, online travel agencies (OTAs) have seen significant increases in business at the expense of most hotel groups in the past decade, but with Accor’s investment in its loyalty programs (Accor Advantage Plus and Le Club Accorhotels), and online digital presence with its accorhotels.com website, the group has experienced double digit growth in direct revenues for the past three years.
Accorhotels.com is rated as the top website for hotel groups in Australia, according to latest Experian Hitwise data, with a 23% annual growth in website visits, and growth from mobile sources is leading the way with a 57% increase in bookings and 85% increase in revenue.
Accor Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath, said the company’s loyalty programs are playing a key role in building direct sales, with Accor Advantage Plus offering a wider variety of “experience packages” to grow lengths of stay and provide exclusive opportunities.
“Online travel agencies have a strong presence in Australia and with their considerable marketing resources, their percentage of the overall market has grown substantially in the past decade, but it is very encouraging that the strength of the Accor brand name has helped the company grow its direct business at the same time,” he said.
“This is important for our hotel owners and franchisees because it demonstrates that even with such tough competition, Accor can deliver above-market returns.
“We are not only growing our loyalty base, we are succeeding in getting them to book more frequently and often for longer periods because we are offering a wider range of product – from exclusive dining experiences with celebrity chefs such as Pullman’s Justin North to package tours at Ayers Rock Resort, with special inclusions.
“While we work very closely with our online partners, we also believe it is essential for a hotel group such as Accor to be able to deal closely with our direct customers, and with enhancements to our loyalty and digital programs, the results are showing that we can grow in both areas – direct and indirect,” McGrath said.
Accor’s mobile applications and websites notched up over 10 million unique visitors last year, and expect the rate of growth to increase with the new version of accorhotels.com multi-brand application available for Android1, iPhone and Blackberry operating systems.
The accorhotels.com mobile website allows users to book stays at over 3,500 Accor hotels in over 90 countries.