Accor sets its sights on Canada

From left: Greg Doman, Kimberly Dickey and Ian Ricci.

From left: Greg Doman, Kimberly Dickey and Ian Ricci.

TORONTO — Greg Doman, Kimberly Dickey and a newly-hired Ian Ricci sat down with Canadian Lodging News at the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference last week, and outlined expansion plans for Accor's Fairmont, Novotel, Pullman and ibis brands in this country.

Ricci is now vice-president, development, Canada and Caribbean, for AccorHotels, coming to his new position after more than 10 years at CWB Franchise Finance (formerly GE Capital). 

Doman, senior vice-president development for AccorHotels, has been with FRHI and Accor for 18 years. Dickey, who is development director, and has been with AccorHotels for three years, came from CBRE Canada.

Accor has a total of 27 hotels in Canada including:

– Fairmont: 19 hotels, 10,736 rooms

– Sofitel: 1 hotel, 241 rooms 

– Novotel: 7 hotels, 1,625 rooms 

It's time to go beyond Fairmont, said Doman. Vancouver alone has four Fairmonts, but there is room for a few more in Canada. The Queen Elizabeth relaunch was spectacular, and Accor will continue to put capital into the Fairmont brand. Besides Fairmont, there is a Sofitel in Montreal, and seven Novotels. 

“Accor has 26 brands and counting, but they're not all in Canada,” said Doman. 

“We want to home in on four,” said Ricci. Those four are the following:

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is a leader in the global hospitality industry, with a distinctive collection and a worldwide reputation for excellence. The diverse portfolio includes historic icons, elegant resorts and modern city center properties. There's room for a few more of this iconic brand in Canada, which already has more Fairmonts than any other country except the U.S.

Pullman Quay Grand, Sydney Harbour, Australia.

Pullman Quay Grand, Sydney Harbour, Australia.

Pullman is the high-end international brand of the Accor group, mainly targeted at cosmopolitan travellers who have wide connections and enjoy combining work and pleasure. Located in the world's most vibrant global cities and most sought-after tourist destinations, Pullman 4-star and 5-star hotels and resorts welcome modern-day adventurers, nomads and explorers, travelling on their own or with like-minded companions and associates, for business or pleasure.

“There's the railroad tie,” noted Doman, referring to Fairmont's origins as CP Railway Hotels. 

Novotel. Accor wants to aggressively ramp up this mid-scale brand. “We want to be much more aggressive on the franchise side,” said Doman, noting that Ricci has experience in that area. Novotel has more than 400 hotels in 60 countries, located in the centre of key cities and suitable both for business trips and for holidays. 

ibis and ibis Styles. With over 500 hotels in 18 countries, ibis budget is AccorHotels’ benchmark brand in the budget segment. This nifty, casual brand offers a simple, no frills solution and has made essential comfort at a budget price central to its thinking. ibis budget offers its guests comfortable rooms with fluffy duvet and pillows, free Wi-Fi (except in Australia) and a gourmet breakfast buffet.

ibis Styles — the hotel that welcomes parents.

ibis Styles — the hotel that welcomes parents.

ibis Styles economy brand is about creativity, good humor and fun. Each hotel is decorated around a theme: Alice in Wonderland, a farm in the middle of Paris, a journey through the history of aviation… you name it, and there is an ibis Styles built around it. ibis Styles hotels also offer great bedding comfort, Wi-Fi and even family suites for tribes of up to four people — these hotels welcome parents.

Doman also talked about SO. “I would love to bring this to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal,” he said. “It's a luxury brand in the process of launching in North America. It already has traction for developers who want something a little edgy with a heavy fashion orientation.”

Ricci notes that the focus is on primarily urban markets. “We'll assess brands as they are integrated into main hubs. We'll start with the hubs and work on the spokes later.”

“We'll continue to add Fairmonts — and possibly a Raffles or Orient Express in Vancouver because of its Asian connection,” said Doman.

“The great thing is that Accor outside of North America are the No. 1 hospitality company. Loyalty will be a big bridge, as there are 40 million Accor Club members, and when we put Fairmont in there, they will have 4 million more. In the middle of the year, we will bring them together. That gives us the momentum to introduce these other brands to Canada,” said Doman. He added that Chris Cahill, a Canadian and Accor's CEO Luxury brands, would love to see higher growth profile here.

Accor's North and Central America region is located at Wellington and Simcoe Streets in Toronto, the former FRHI offices. There are currently 250 colleagues located there. “We are the only [major hotel management company] with [North American] offices based in Canada,” Doman said.

Accor acquires Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

In other news, AccorHotels  announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement to acquire Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. Founded in 1973 in Switzerland, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts operates in 27 countries with 84 hotels (more than 20,000 rooms) and a particularly strong presence in Europe and the Middle East. 

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts also plans to open 42 additional hotels by 2021, representing almost 11,000 rooms, with significant expansion in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. The group, which has high-end expertise in the main hotel-related services, employs more than 16,000 people worldwide.