Accor Thinks Big

We admit that we were disheartened by the slower-than-anticipated recovery of the luxury travel market, but with news that hospitality giant Accor is planning on almost doubling its number of hotels in the next seven years, that glass is starting to look half-full once again.

We hear that Accor is planning on expanding its number of hotels to 7,000 in the next seven years as part of an approximately $1.7 billion plan. Emerging markets such as Brazil and India are being targeted. We hear a new hotel will open every week in Asia over the next two years. How's that for recovery?

By 2012, the Group expects to open 35,000 to 40,000 rooms a year at cruising speed, with hotels operated under management contracts or franchise agreements accounting for over 80 percent of new rooms.  By the end of 2015, the expansion plan is expected to drive the opening of more than 1,800 hotels, or around 220,000 rooms, with a strong focus on Europe and Asia.

We have also heard buzz that, with an $150 million investment in India (where the company currently has only eight hotels), the plan is to become one of the country's hospitality heavyweights. We spoke with Michael Issenberg, COO Accor Asia Pacific, who gave us the scoop.

"Accor entered India five years ago in a joint venture arrangement with InterGlobe Enterprises and in this time has established a network of eight operating hotels across three brands," he says. "In the coming two years Accor will open an additional 21 hotels and an additional three hotel brands. This will see the Accor network present throughout all major business center's of India and with a product offer to cater to all segments of the market from luxury to low cost.  Of the 60 hotels that Accor has committed to India today, 19 are ibis hotels which will assist in fulfilling demand for quality international hotels throughout the country today."

The company will also boost its presence in Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. It should be noted that China has been put on the backburner, seeing as the company already has 96 hotels and fears an oversupply.

Accor is responsible for hospitality brands such as Sofitel, Ibis, Novotel and Formula 1.

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