Accor is boasting a healthy development pipeline for 2021, as recently announced Chief Development Officer Agnes Roquefort (formerly Senior VP Strategy, Integrations & Data) takes on her new role: “Despite the delays and temporary closures we experienced due to the pandemic", says Roquefort, "we continued to experience sustained momentum across our development pipeline. We are optimistic that the worldwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will lead to renewed trust in travel and a much greater sense of personal safety for the entire global population.”
A large portion of developments will come from the new lifestyle group including the joint venture with Ennismore which is due to close in Q2 2021. The lifestyle segment currently represents 5% of the Group’s annual revenue, and 25% of the development pipeline value. Accor brands expected to open new properties include Mondrian Shoreditch London; JO&JOE Vienna Westbahnhof; SO/ Sotogrande Resort & Spa; SLS Dubai and 25hours Dubai.
A number of developments will also come from its luxury brands and mostly outside of Europe: Banyan Tree in Qatar, Raffles in Udaipur and Jeddah, Fairmont in Los Angeles, Windsor, Dublin, Riyadh, Seoul, Morocco, and Sofitel in Seoul, Hangzhou, and Adelaide.
Looking more closely at Europe, Camil Yazbeck, Senior Vice President, Head of Development – Europe at Accor, added “Despite the impact of COVID19, we have maintained our extremely strong signings momentum and continued to sign new deals across all segments in Europe. We maintain a long-term view in our development strategy; people will travel again for leisure & business and we will be fully prepared for the global rebound.”
In what is emerging as one of the key trends of 2020-2021, Accor highlighted conversion opportunities as a growth driver, as the group banked on its brands’ flexibility and ease of transition: “We have seen increasing demand for our unrivalled portfolio of conversion brands including The House of Originals (Luxury), MGallery (Upper Premium), Mövenpick (Premium), Mercure (Midscale), ibis Styles (Economy) and greet (Budget)” says Yazbeck. “Some examples of recent conversion deals include Mondrian Shoreditch London (rebranded from The Curtain Hotel & Members Club), Berd’s Chisinau MGallery Hotel, 10 Travelodge hotels across the UK to rebrand under ibis Budget (AGO deal) and Carton House, a Fairmont Managed Hotel… amongst many more. Our six conversion brands now account for 43% of Accor’s opening pipeline over the next five years. We have responded to this uptick in conversion activity with imminent plans to expand our conversion brand portfolio and offer even more flexibility to owners, stay tuned!”
Another major development trend mirrored in Accor’s development pipeline in Europe, according to Yazbeck, is “the growth of the Extended Stay segment, which has outperformed mainstream hotels during the pandemic and provides a robust business model to owners. COVID-19 has transformed the way we live, work and travel and Extended Stay has been a beneficiary of this shift. Accor is the world’s largest Extended Stay player outside USA and we are making big progress in this market with the launch of our Living Brands; Pullman Living, Swissotel Living, Movenpick Living, Novotel Living, in addition to Adagio which is already the leader in Europe and developing rapidly. In 2020 we signed our first Mövenpick Living & Novotel Living in Europe and we expect to see even more Extended Stay signings in 2021 and beyond.”