Kerry Healy, Accor

Accor Chief Commerical Officer Premium, Midscale, Economy for MEA APAC, Kerry Healy, discusses refreshing iconic brands to drive growth.

How have you seen the Premium, Midscale and Economy segments evolve in recent years in line with consumer demand?

Accor has spent a large part of the last decade acquiring new brands, in luxury and in lifestyle; and with the rise of consumer trends such as hyper personalisation, we also needed to make sure those brands can stand the test of time. The same is true for the Premium, Midscale and Economy (PME) division. The 19 brands that we operate in PME need to have personality because the new consumer is changing. We need to look at how these brands resonate with Gen Z and Gen X, how they talk to the growing middle-class and booming economies like India.

We have an absolute focus on refreshing what we call our iconic brands which represent most of our inventory and a lot of our profit. The goal is to refresh those brands, to scale those brands because they are the perfect to either manage or franchise.

Can you share some examples of the new directions these brands are taking?

Let’s take Ibis, for example. It’s 50 years old and has over 2,000 hotels in Europe alone – it’s a significant part of the global footprint of product.

We’ve done a lot of research into what the future traveller wants from an Ibis hotel and the decision drivers for choosing an economy hotel.

A great night’s sleep is always important – that’s why we invested in the Sweet Bed – convenient location, grab n’ go concepts; these are all important to the economy guest.

We really need to make sure that for the next 50 years we maintain recognition as the market leader in the economy segment.

Ibis Styles Hobart

We are also looking at refreshing the Novotel brand with new design elements coming in and leaning into some of the brand passion areas – being family friendly and targeting that blended traveller – and we’ll be introducing something quite unique, we think.

What opportunities are you seeing in the Premium segment?

We see a major opportunity for the Pullman brand in this segment – it’s another brand that we are heavily invested in refreshing. It has a lot of heritage, dating back to 1870, so its refresh will centre on that heritage and design elements – the materials and fabrics we use – the social aspect, MICE, food and beverage.

We also have Movenpick and Swissotel, so we will be driving those three brands very hard to own that space in the Premium category.

Handwritten Collection is also going to be successful in mature markets like this where owners and guests are seeking fresh brands and innovation.

Loyalty is such a big focus for Accor. What collaborations and partnerships are driving performance in this area?

The more you put into the ecosystem, the more value that members see. And the more you can do outside of the stay itself, that’s where the magic happens. In credit cards, we have a partnership with Visa in the Middle East, and we’ve just launched a card in South Korea – all of that brings awareness to the program.

Pullman Melbourne on Swanston

With airlines, we have deals with Qantas, AirFrance, Singapore Airlines. We have Emirates Holidays; and we’ve got a big play on ride operators. We have an aggregated ride operator that sits within the ALL – Accor Live Limitless app, so when guests are in destination, they are earning points on everything they do. It’s another reason to open the ALL app, another reason to remember your relationship with Accor.

What are some of the key opportunities you are seeing for Australia?

We are focused on inbound flows to Australia. As China is recovering, we are refocusing on what we’re doing in China, what we’re doing outbound India, how we’re driving some of the long-haul markets in. We’ll lead in with our loyalty, marketing campaigns, that commercial focus that we have on hotels and working with them on their segmentation mix.

Over the last few years, Australia has had very strong domestic travel; there are some inflationary pressures in the market at the moment, we really need to make sure we’re maximising on the corporate segmentations that come back and on the inbound to make sure we are capturing our share of that. When we know our big feeder markets for Australia, we know our own brand purposing in those markets, we will lean into crafted brand campaigns and loyalty campaigns – some shared, some unique – to build new partnerships, brand preferencing and ALL awareness in those markets.