Accor opening luxury properties as locals splurge at home
Accor, which has been expanding its presence in Korea with local company Ambassador Group for over 30 years, first brought its mid-level brands, such as Novotel, in 1993. It then introduced more economical brands, such as Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget, to respond to higher demand from young travelers looking to stay stylish on a budget during their international travel. While it has established its base to appeal to locals and international travelers, the company has seen the steady growth in the luxury market, which is led by many different international and local brands, and has now decided to focus also on making its luxury and premium brands known in the local market.
“We wanted to differentiate [ourselves] with the products,” said Basset, adding that the market is growing with steady interests from the inbound travelers as well as locals looking for luxury respite within their home country. “When we came in 30 years ago, we saw real opportunities with the economy hotels as there were big gaps between luxury and budget hotels. We have seen the market catching up, and we want to bring our luxury brands.”
To keep existing customers happy and connect them to the new brands it plans to open in the coming years, the company is relaunching its lifestyle membership program from the end of this year. The membership program will not just be limited to get services at hotels, but made to involve partners from all over the world, such as airlines, restaurants, and sports events to keep its guests come back for more. It will also become possible to accrue points from dining at the restaurants inside the Accor brand hotels without staying overnight.
Farimont opens in Yeouido, western Seoul, next year, and Sofitel in Songpa District, southern Seoul, in 2021. The Sofitel will operate serviced residence as well. MGallery brand will also come to Korea in 2022 in Mapo District, northwestern Seoul.
“Lifestyle is something we are banking on a lot, and our team is heavily involved already to provide top services in food and beverage and wellness programs,” the chief operating officer said, adding that the hotel would be resilient in terms of what chefs or restaurants to work with given that Korea’s food scene has been led by stand-alone restaurants more so than hotel restaurants.
“We will also focus on having our bars promoted as well as supporting women talents in the food and beverage industry.”
The company, which had about 200 hotels in Asia Pacific 15 years ago, grew to have about 1,200 hotels out of around 4,900 hotels it has worldwide now.
BY LEE SUN-MIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]