The company observes two markets within the congress world: large congresses, but also increasingly, smaller congresses on very specific topics. So Accor has developed two offers for these two markets. “For a large congress which takes place in a congress centre, we come as a support, offering lodging but also additional services like catering, F&B, additional meeting rooms, new technology experiences. A congress generates many additional meetings as people use it as an opportunity to set-up meetings. The second offer is for mid-sized congresses (up to about 1,000 people), we can host the congress”, says Cyril.
This is a specific market, no doubt, which requires specialists who understand the expectations of the association market. Hence the specific approach taken by the company which has defined “an internal training to integrate congress-specific professionals in their global teams to help hotels address these needs: act as a destination partner with venues and convention bureaus, a long term pricing strategy, a specific way of working with these organisations, facilitate the complex bid process, and a smooth communication between the hotels and sales teams”. Also, to cater for the needs of attendees to feel valued, they offer dedicated check-in or welcome area for a smooth check-in, providing them with relevant information about the congress. The programme includes 11 commitments, and 310 hotels are part of it.
Other news? About the eternal question of online booking of meetings, Cyril says “many online solutions come on the market, but none yet offers a seamless experience from booking to meeting day”. In this field, the chain wants to offer a complete solution, not something partial… but more news will come in 2017.
Integration of the Fairmont group to the portfolio. According to Cyril, “it brings us a real know-how in meetings and in the luxury market. It also increases our offer considerably, with 56,000 rooms worldwide including 10,000 rooms in the USA”. The chain has waited to absorb FRHI and their know-how, before announcing a set of new products and initiatives in 2017. Stay tuned!
Millenials. Cyril closes with a reflection about tomorrow’s guests: “millennials meet in different ways and we have to adapt to that. Rather than formal meeting rooms, they want open spaces, they want to play with technology in a co-working manner… and even gastronomy has to evolve: they will prefer to create their own salad during the meeting rather than a fixed menu”.