It’s been a long time since travelers could feel free to jet off to their favorite leisure destinations, but things are looking up for many parts of the world as the midpoint of 2021 nears — and Accor is planning for the best.
With more than 5,100 properties, 1,700 fitness centers and gyms, 600 spas, 310 resorts, and 10,000 restaurants and bars across 110 countries, Accor is keen to welcome back its loyal customers with its global initiative, “Unveil the World.” The global campaign specifically targets leisure travelers through the lifestyle loyalty program ALL (Accor Live Limitless) offering a range of experiences and benefits across its diverse portfolio of hospitality brands to drive business recovery.
Timing the campaign ahead of the northern hemisphere’s summer season, Accor hopes to facilitate the vacation plans leisure travelers have been making over the past year and a half but have been unable to fulfill. Promising signs of reduced restrictions and successful vaccination programs mean there’s much potential for increased opening of borders and more consistent holiday travel across the world.
HOW ACCOR WILL “UNVEIL THE WORLD” TO LEISURE TRAVELERS
“Our research indicates that 65 percent of respondents worldwide are likely to plan a leisure trip in the coming months,” said Steven Taylor, chief marketing officer for Accor. “Road trips, al fresco dining, cultural experiences, nature, and city escapes are high on the priority lists of planned excursions.”
“We have also launched double status nights for the remainder of the year, which allows our members to reach higher status twice as fast, and we’ve extended Reward Points validity until the end of December. This enables members to use their points and book our hotels, resorts, villas, or apartments for the coming year, whether it’s reconnecting with friends, spending quality time with the family, or enjoying some much deserved down time on their own,” said Taylor.
The campaign follows an extended period of extreme caution and trepidation in the travel industry, where many were unable to travel due to government restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, Accor implemented the highest levels of safety protocols with the ALLSAFE cleanliness and hygiene label across its worldwide network. But now, to paraphrase Neil Patrick Harris in ALL’s recent North American marketing campaign, people want to be human again, pack their bags, and hit the road.
WHY ACCOR WILL SHARPEN ITS FOCUS ON LEISURE
“Accor has always been nimble and flexible amid changing market conditions — it’s embedded in our entrepreneurial roots,” said Patrick Mendes, chief commercial officer at Accor, responsible for sales, marketing, distribution, and loyalty. “Prior to the pandemic, corporate travel served as an extremely strong revenue stream for us, and our modelling is forecasting future recovery of this segment over the coming years, but right now it makes sense to bolster our focus on leisure travel and other revenue streams such as local services and food and beverage. As a result, we are refining our marketing approach and leading with a much stronger leisure message.”
Third-party research from leading groups like Oxford Economics, along with Accor’s own data and insights, said Mendes, suggests a sharper uptick in leisure travel this year, compared to business and corporate travel, so targeting this segment more aggressively over the short term makes sense for Accor.
“On the leisure front, all of the research and booking trends we are seeing are clearly pointing to a lot of pent-up demand, versus the corporate travel segment which we believe will be slower to rebound,” he said. The data underpins evolving trends and behavioral changes such as remote working and digital meetings, which have also impacted the attendance at in-person conferences and events. The increased focus on leisure travel therefore makes sense from a business point of view, but also from the perspective of rewarding and enticing guests and local visitors.
“Looking back at 2019 data, leisure hospitality represented a $1 trillion market with more than 22 percent growth projected through 2021,” said Mendes. “The pandemic essentially put the world on hold. Now, as travel restrictions are lifted, that pent-up demand has already begun to come roaring back.”
The targeted programs designed to welcome leisure travelers back to Accor properties span the globe, from Paris to the Maldives, Thailand, to London. Incentives span the breadth of discounts on children’s rooms, specially designed experiences such as exclusive picnics, reduced prices for longer stays, and special tours and activities — from Parisian artists’ studios to scuba and skydiving.
PLANNING BEYOND 2021
Of course, corporate travel will always form a key part of Accor’s offering and long-term strategy. But Mendes said Accor is excited to put greater emphasis on its leisure offerings, especially resort locations, and is delighted to be welcoming back travelers post-pandemic.
“The desire to travel and see the world, to reconnect with friends, family, and much-loved destinations — this will not be a one or two quarter trend,” he explained. “As the saying goes, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ and we are certain that those who love to travel will be prioritizing their travel plans for years to come.”