Accor Middle East announced its expansion plans and is all set to open 22 new hotels representing 5,598 rooms, in key destinations such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt within the next three years.
Philippe Seguin, vice president sales, distribution and marketing, Accor Middle East said: “With our strong development pipeline, we are reinforcing our regional sales team with new staff and new e-commerce tools, to aggressively develop Accor’s digital services and presence, from mobile apps to e-marketing, to our loyalty program, Le Club Accorhotels.”
Accor recently rebranded its loyalty program, formerly known as A Club to Le Club Accorhotels. Hotel guests earn points each time they stay in any of the 2,500 participating hotels and enjoy a whole host of benefits.
“We have experienced exponential growth in online booking,” said Seguin. “In the first quarter of 2012 alone, our new geo-localised website, Accorhotels.com, helped increase revenue by 49%.”
In terms of outbound destinations, France is one of the most important Accor destinations in Europe for Middle East travelers. Online bookings through Accor websites increased by 36% in room nights in March 2012 compared to March 2011 to France. Paris remained the top destination for leisure purposes, especially with the Sofitel brand. As an emitting destination, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the most important feeder markets.
For the outbound leisure segment (tour operator and travel agencies), Europe is representing 60% of the room nights produced in Accor hotels at the end of 2011. With France (25%) and Germany (14%), other destinations like Switzerland and Austria are also top popular destinations for Middle East visitors. The ibis brand experienced the most important share of bookings (25%), followed by Novotel (22%), Mercure and Sofitel (17% each).
For 35% of Accor’s corporate customers or business travellers based in the Middle East, UK, Germany and France are the top destinations.