Accor is ramping up its franchise arm in the Pacific region, having recently surpassed 10,000 rooms across a diverse portfolio of 120 hotels, apartments, and resorts.
Accor Pacific Chief Executive, Sarah Derry, said the group intends to build on its success and continue to expand franchise operations across Australia and New Zealand.
“By leveraging its deep industry knowledge, operational expertise, and commitment to delivering outstanding guest experiences, our franchise team remains dedicated to driving the growth and success of its franchise partners,” Derry said.
Speaking exclusively to HM, Accor Vice President Franchise Danesh Bamji said there is growing interest in franchise agreements, and that the team is “firmly focused” on enhancing performance and growth.
“The key to our success is a platform and playbook developed for our franchisees that is centred around our franchisee performance,” Bamji said.
“The expertise and success of our franchise performance team means that we are seeing growing interest in our franchise agreement offering from both new clients and also within our existing network.
“We gauge our success in the ability to support our franchisee growth and in fact, almost 50% of our franchise network owners have more than two hotels with us and a large number of owners boast more than three. This is a strong demonstration of the sustainable growth performance we deliver for franchise hotels and our commitment to our franchisee success.”
All Accor hotels, managed and franchise, have access to its distribution platform, exclusive partners, as well as its loyalty and marketing programs.
While every hotel and owner is unique, and both hotel management agreements (HMAs) and franchise agreements offer benefits, Banji says Accor’s approach to franchising is “truly collaborative and performance driven”.
“We have always taken franchising seriously and have established, for almost 30 years now, a specialised business unit within Accor dedicated to our franchisee success and growth,” he said.
“Our Franchisee Performance Team provide unparalleled attention to detail to our franchisee and franchise General Manager needs and have a genuine interest in our franchisees performance.”
Accor’s portfolio of franchise properties includes The Sebel, Novotel, Ibis, Mantra and Peppers brands. And as the network grows, more brands are expected to join this segment.
“Like our guests, our franchise community is evolving and with that so are our brand offerings to meet their exact needs,” Bamji said.
“Our brands offer a wide collection of solutions and choice delivering greater efficiencies, flexibility and well-known brands which are loved and are popular on a global and local footprint.
“Accor is continuously evolving its brand portfolio and its likely we will expand to other brands in the future. Our new brands demonstrate our commitment to diversifying our offerings to meet the evolving needs and preferences of guests.”
Anthony Flynn has been an Accor franchise partner for over 10 years and, today, he owns and runs three properties – Pullman Brisbane Airport, Novotel Brisbane Airport and Ibis Brisbane Airport.
“We started our journey with Accor and their franchise team over a decade ago with our first hotel, Novotel Brisbane Airport,” said Flynn.
“Based on the success of the Novotel, we have grown our network to now include the Pullman and Ibis Brisbane Airport.
“Our partnership with Accor allows us to run our business with our own expert team and leverage from Accor key benefits, such as international branding, staff development opportunities, and Accor’s highly valuable distribution and loyalty platform. We look forward to continuing to grow our portfolio with Accor into the future.”
Partnering with the right people is an important factor for the long-term success of hotels. And while experience is valued, it’s not always a determining factor.
“We work with partners who are aligned with our values, and, in partnership, we develop an exceptional guest experience,” Bamji said.
“It’s recommended that a franchise partner has experience, however as Accor provides a dedicated team and platform, whose sole purpose is to support the performance of a franchise partner, rest assured they are well supported.”
Franchising, like any other arrangement, is not without its challenges. In recent years, the evolution of technology and complexities around distribution, have brought challenges to some franchise owners, according to Bamji.
“To help navigate through this and to leverage the benefits of technology, partnerships and global distribution, Accor steps in with one-on-one attention for individual franchisee hotels to maximise opportunities and growth,” he said.
“We support in upskilling General Managers so that they continue to learn and retain essential operations, commercial and system knowledge. Accor supports its franchise hotel owners and General Managers via its registered training academy – Accor Academy, which also acts as a great team retention tool.”