A raft of acquisitions and digital developments is helping the French chain to become a key player in industry consolidation and a serial entrepreneur has been appointed to help, writes Sally White
With classic French élan AccorHotels is making it absolutely clear that it is on song with leisure industry trends. The latest senior appointment at Europe’s largest hotels group (3,900 hotels) is that of serial digital entrepreneur Tribault Viort (43) as chief disruption (sic) and growth officer.
Viort’s CV includes creation of Facebook’s first online games (lsCool Entertainment), digital data factory Ysance, French travel app Wipolo (now owned by AccorHotels) and transformation of Cityvox, a French online review site specialising in restaurant and nightlife. For 20 years he has also been teaching at the prestigious French college, Ecole Polytechnique.
AccorHotels says the appointment is to help it “increase its agility in new businesses”. So his main missions will be to “track down new opportunities for growth”, to oversee the group’s new ventures and to “reinforce interactions with start-ups that reinvent the sector”. Sounds as though he is going to be busy!
For the last few years AccorHotels has been a business in a hurry to expand, with moves in all sectors of leisure accommodation. These have been designed to keep it ahead of both its conventional and disruptive competitors. Investment in digital has also been a major priority.
Just last month AccorHotels spent €148 million buying Onefinestay, the UK-based international high-end serviced home rental group. AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin says a further €64 million will be spent helping it growth worldwide. The acquisition is part of its plan for countering competition from Airbnb.
Its buying spree has also included a variety of vacation rental companies, such as Squarebreak and Oasis Collections. But its major acquisition in recent months was last December’s deal to buy the 115 hotels, plus 40 under development, in FRHI group. These are the luxury Fairmont, Raffles and Swiss hotel brands for which AccorHotels agreed to pay about $2.9 billion in shares and cash. The deal has just been given clearance.
A key player in industry consolidation
The deal “offers us robust and global leadership in luxury hotels, a key segment in terms of geographic reach, growth potential and profitability,” AccorHotels’ CEO Sebastien Bazin said in the statement. “We are positioning ourselves as a key player in the current industry consolidation process.”