Accor CEO: Asia growth is not just numbers game

Hotel giant expects 700 hotels in Asia-Pacific by 2015

As Accor celebrates 30 years in the Asia-Pacific region this week by announcing 100 contracts signed this year and 700 hotels in operation in the region by 2015, in an interview with TTG Asia the company’s chairman and CEO Denis Hennequin rejects the idea it is not just a numbers game.
“It is not chasing numbers for the financial community but to answer to increased demand as a result of the booming economy here and in other parts of the world,” he says. “We have a pipeline of 110,000 rooms within the next three years. Fifty per cent is in Asia-Pacific because Asia-Pacific is the vibrant part of the world today.”
Hennequin famously expanded McDonald’s at a fast rate in France and Europe before joining Accor in January 2011.
He rejects the idea behind another question, that Accor is stretching its brand elasticity as a way of achieving more contracts. The Ibis brand, for example, has been segmented into Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget, while there is also now a Suite Novotel sub-brand.
“We’re bringing clarity to our offers. In the economy segment, you’ve got the budget segment and the upscale version of the budget segment, just like airlines with their low-cost and economy. Ibis Budget is the budget segment of our economy offer, while Ibis Styles is a freestyle exercise around economy.”
Accor’s growth in the region, particularly in the last five years, has been “nothing short of spectacular”, TTG Asia writes. From one hotel in Asia-Pacific in 1982, it grew to 180 in 2000 and 422 in 2010. This year, a record 110 openings brings the number of Accor hotels in Asia-Pacific to 550. By comparison, Starwood Hotels & Resorts will have 320 hotels in Asia by 2014, Marriott International around 265 hotels by 2016. But Accor’s critics question how 110 hotels can be opened in a year without owners’ ROI, brand integrity and operation fraying around the edges, particularly as the industry faces a critical shortage of staff.
TTG Asia
[pictured: V Villas Hua Hin, managed by Accor]